All Jack Berenson wants is to go to school like a normal sixth-grader and come home to parents who work regular, old 9-to-5 jobs, but life with Richard and Claire Berenson is anything but normal.
When the two whisk their son off to the “undiscovered Caribbean” in hot pursuit of their next get-rich-quick scheme, Jack quickly finds himself stranded on a desert island with little more than a bird named Loco, a few bags of potato chips and a box of Spider-Man Band-Aids. Incredibly, there seems less reason to be concerned for Jack’s welfare than for his flighty, accident-prone parents, who are safe on the mainland. Readers will be charmed by Jack, whose flair for checklists and self-preservation is both humorous and endearing. Middle-grade readers who tend to leave their socks on the floor will surely be intrigued by a kid whose first order of business upon being shipwrecked is to do laundry. While at first Jack’s parents do seem alarmingly uninterested in their son’s well-being, they gradually warm up to their role as parents. By book’s end, the threesome even agree upon a set of family rules designed to save lives and still allow room for a bit of adventure.
Readers who are list makers should make sure this series opener is included. (Adventure. 8-12)