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THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT by Simms Taback

THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

By Simms Taback (Author) , Simms Taback (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23488-8
Publisher: Putnam

Caldecott Medalist and Honoree Taback (Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, 1999, etc.) has outdone himself with deeply colorful, intricately detailed and witty mixed-media illustrations of each figure in this familiar cumulative tale: cheese, rat, cat, dog, cow, maid, man, judge, rooster, and newly added artist. The fun starts with the endpapers, inventively printed with illustrations of houses accompanied by real-estate ads. Each subsequent spread includes clever extras like labels indicating how smelly various cheeses are, pictures of different breeds of cats (some real, some imaginary—like Felix, of cartoon fame) and humorous descriptions of their temperaments, and a particularly hilarious cow with its parts noted: “tail,” “loin,” “chuck,” “Big Mac.” The hand-drawn, frenetic typeface in colors contrasting with the background adds even more energy to the retelling, which is straightforward and traditional until the very end. The back cover is a spoof of an advertisement for tools “Recommended by Jack” and lists punny, whimsical names for the tools. An author’s note mentions general origins of the rhyme and explains who the mystery artist is; it turns out to be Randolph Caldecott himself, “who first had drawn a picture of the farmer. . . .” Adults in the know will enjoy pointing out his identity to children, but the joke will be lost on those not familiar with the history of children’s literature. (Picture book. 4+)