JACK ON THE TRACKS by Jack Gantos

JACK ON THE TRACKS

Four Seasons of Fifth Grade
Age Range: 10 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Jack’s back (Jack’s Black Book, 1997, etc.) and wacko enough to water ski on land, feed his sleeping sister a cockroach, and bring about the unfortunate demise of three pet cats. Gantos’s hyperactive rewriting of his own diaries zips Jack through fifth grade and a barrage of overlapping adventures. Like the steel sphere in a pinball game, Jack bounces around between his older sister’s insults, his parents admonishments, and his friend Tack’s dares. None of this is for the weak of heart or the gullible; between picking a hookworm (his “secret pet”) out of his arm and lying in a hole with a screaming locomotive passing overhead, Jack is no role model, but he is real. His battles with his emotions—why he cries all the time, why he is “more interested in gross things than in beautiful things”—and his struggles to do what he deems right and adult (instead of wrong and childish) ring true. Have readers fasten their seat belts for this one, or—for a real jolt of Jack—don’t. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1999
ISBN: 0-374-33665-2
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999




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