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This is a goofy story of the Cat in Hat genre. The two year old makes me read it over and over. Sometimes she says it is scary, but she still wants to hear it. The six year old reads it to herself and to her sister. We have enjoyed this story.
I learned about TOON BOOKS only very recently. I purchased this title to give as a present to my grandson, who just turned 3 and who is learning to read. On my way home from his birthday party, my daughter sent me the following text: "He loved his TOON book! Laughed and laughed at bedtime... Big hit!"
If you are familiar at all with the work of Art Spiegelman, at first it might seem strange to see he has created a line of children's books. But after a moments thought and a turn through "Jack And The Box", I found it made sense.
As the author himself states, "I am easily unhinged" and alludes to the fact that he may well be in that state most of the time.
"Jack And The Box" does little to change this impression.
Jack, the titular character is a small child, he is at first scared and surprised by the creature from the box Zack, - but he gradually becomes used to him and demands his presence more and more. Zack obliges, growing more and more imposing each time, eventually showing up with a whole menagerie of uninvited guests who wreak havoc on Jack's home. How like too many parties I have seen.
As a tool for first-time readers, comic or otherwise, I can only guess how helpful it will be. Many people smarter than I have devoted their lives studying how we learn, I would never pretend to understand. My first books were about trucks and airplanes, not a scary creature who may or may not be an allegory of addiction and recovery.
In the end, Jack triumphs over Zack, but seems to have learned his lesson.
I am a huge fan of Spiegelman, I turned more people onto him through "Maus" than would ever have cared or even considered the Holocaust any other way, not as though that's relevant here. And "Shadow Of No Towers" is stunning. Would I like to see my child reading these works? Definitely. Would it warp his world-view? Maybe, but who knows how much "Make Way For The Throughway" affected my own.
When we think of the Jack in the Box toy, we have memories of a fun toy that you wind up and get surprised when it finally pops out of the box. There's no secret there...the toy is definitely going to pop out of the box. Then you push it down and play it again and again. But what if Jack in the Box didn't work that way?
The book, "Jack and the Box," by Art Spiegelman, takes a new twist on an old toy idea. The character in the book, a bunny named Jack, is given a toy by his parents. When he first sees it pop out of the box, he's very surprised and a bit scared. After he realizes the toy (named Zack), has a mind of its own, he gets angry at it because it doesn't want to play (it doesn't want to play?!). After Zack the toy scares Jack a few more times, things get even more strange.
On a positive note, we think this book is imaginative, creative, and easy for young readers to practice. But because of the creepiness factor of the "silly toy's" behavior, dialogue and illustrations, we feel that this story may actually scare some younger children. That's not to say that others won't enjoy the book -- parents, you know your child best...use your best judgement before deciding to read this book with your child. Some of us actually got a sinister feeling after reading the book -- the toy is playing with the boy, instead of the boy playing with the toy... We're sure the point of this book is to just be "silly," but for young children we prefer more light-hearted stories and those with an actual purpose.
5.0 out of 5 starsTwo boys' review: "Can we read it again?"
Reviewed in the United States on 12 October 2008
I'm a father of two boys, ages 6 and 4. This is my first review as part of Amazon's Vine program. I've reviewed a lot of children's books and you can find some of my other recommendations in my Listmania! List titled, "Little boys' bedtime books."
My initial response to this book was negative. I pulled it out of the Amazon shipping box and read it cover to cover, sitting alone at our dining table. The book didn't meet my expectations of a young reader's book, even though the vocabulary was appropriate for their ages.
At bedtime, I squeezed between my sons, who were dressed in superhero pajamas with their heads topped on a triangle of arms and elbows that disappeared into their Batman comforters. I gave Jack, the little rabbit, a boy's soft, inquisitive tone and Zack, the jack-in-the-box, a nasal-voiced New Yorker's accent. My sons liked the large cartoon panels (two panels per page). At the end of the book, my four-year old turned to me and asked, "Can we read it again?"
So, we did. On the second reading, my six-year old read along with me while his younger brother noted the rhymes and oversaw the sound effects (a "pop" every time Zack appeared from his box).
We've had the book now for nearly a week and the book is still as popular at bed time. My six-year old can now read it cover to cover.
I eventually figured out the source of my initial negative response. The book's audience is children, not adults. My sons took to the book immediately because they don't value a bedtime book with how it meets their expectations. They have none. So long as the book is fun, they will ask me to read it again and again.
Writing a review for a children's book is a little difficult because the book is written for children, but it's the parent writing the review (and I'm the one who has to read it aloud) - so, please bear with me, while I try to write from both perspectives.
First of all, my son was 3 yrs 1 month at the time that I read this book to him. Some of his other favorites at this age include:
Max's Dragon Shirt (Max and Ruby)
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
David Gets in Trouble
. My son paid attention through the entire book; he was genuinely interested in "the box." In fact, he told me that he liked the stars on the box, so I guess that was his way of saying he liked the illustrations. When I asked him what his favorite part was, he told me that he thought, "The duck was very funny," especially when he started carrying the broken lamp around, with ducklings everywhere.
For my part, I have mixed feelings about the book. I thought the illustrations were nice; their style reminded me of the old black and white cartoons (even though these illustrations are colored). The story was very original (definitely NOT boring), although the repetition of certain words and phrases was slightly irritating (and more annoying with each time I had to read it to my son). I thought the idea of the comic book design for a children's book was okay; I'm sure comic book collectors would get a kick out of reading this to their children.
However, I'm not thrilled with the idea of introducing the comic book style to my son at such a young age; I don't feel like it would benefit his interest in learning to read. He was more interested in the pictures than trying to figure out the words. As a mom, I think that if my son likes the story, then it's a good book, but as a tutor, I would not recommend this book to any child that can't read yet, or beginning readers.
It gets four stars because of my son's perspective, but because of my own opinions, I don't think it's worth five stars.