JACK GOES WEST by Mac Barnett


From the "Jack Book" series, volume 4
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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That bad bunny Jack is back—and he’s gone out West!

Jack and the Lady arrive at the dude ranch for a three-day stay. Slim, the gold-toothed ranch hand, immediately takes a liking to the Lady. He calls her “ma’am” and kisses her hand, which makes Jack mad. That night, a bell sounds the alarm at the bank next to the ranch. The Lady goes to investigate only to find that Slim thwarted the theft but was unable to capture the bandit. A wanted poster reveals the bandit’s long ears and scowling eyes. Could it really be Jack? Barnett and Pizzoli are in apple-pie order in this Western for emerging readers. The laugh-out-loud mystery unfolds over six chapters, breathing humor into genre tropes. With a vocabulary of around 150 words and multiple sentences per page, the text is a bit more complex than earlier series entries. The creators’ successful subversion of moralistic primers will inevitably delight readers (though grown-ups may find the moral ambiguity unsettling). Jack at Bat, which publishes simultaneously, gives Jack a chance to settle the score between rival baseball teams—provided he can follow the rules of the game. The humans in Jack Goes West predominantly present white with the exception of the Law Lady, a woman of color, but those in Jack at Bat are diverse in skin tone. As with the other books in the series, each book ends with drawing instructions.

Bank on fun with this one—it’ll rope readers in. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-11388-2
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2019


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