MEAN JAKE AND THE DEVILS by William J. Hooks

MEAN JAKE AND THE DEVILS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on Jack tales his own grandmother told him back in North Carolina tidewater country, and recalling older stories of the jack-o'-lantern's origin (as well as Edna Barth's Jack-o-Lantern, 1974), these three related stories, told here to a young boy by his Granann, are fetchingly but not obtrusively colloquial in the telling and possessed of simple, snappy plots and a pleasingly wicked cast: mean Jake and a family of devils (Big Daddy Devil, D.J., short for Devil Junior, and Baby Deviline). Old Jake is so mean the devils won't let him into Hell, and so he's doomed to wander the swamp with a ball of hell's fire. (Some who don't hold with the old ways call it foxfire.) Hooks shows us why folks say the devil invented the fiddle, and he also shows us how Sake steals Baby Deviline's fiddle and tricks Big Daddy Devil into teaching him to play it. Between stories, Granann carves a pumpkin with a cross for a nose as protection against old Jake; it's a fitting image and a fine match for the eerie glow of Jake's fire. And Zimmer's black-and-white pictures are as likely to sneak up next to you.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 1982
Publisher: Dial