Jack Book Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Jack Book Series Book Poster Image
Fun series, but few consequences for bunny's behavior.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Word repetition helps early readers learn sight words. The back of each book has a section that shows how to draw a character from the series.

Positive Messages
Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack's antics involve some poor behavior with minimal consequences. The narrator often calls Jack "bad." 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Jack Book series, by Mac Barnett (Mac Undercover) and illustrator by Greg Pizzoli, has fun, engaging illustrations and word repetition for emerging readers, while the mischievous jackrabbit suffers few consequences for his naughty behavior. The vocabulary is just right for beginning or reluctant readers, with plenty of chances to practice words and see them in context. Adults will likely see the problems with Jack's behavior, while kids will see it for the rollicking good time the books are meant to be. Although, it's probably worth reminding the youngest readers that lipstick is not to be used on dogs. The first book in the series is Hi, Jack!, followed by Jack Blasts Off!Jack at Bat, and Jack Goes West. Coming out in May 2020: Jack at the Zoo and Too Many Jacks. 

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What's the story?

In the JACK BOOK series, a feisty rabbit creates trouble wherever he goes, starting with stealing a lady's purse and refusing to give it back, then drawing on himself and the dog, Rex, with her lipstick. The lady and Jack become friends, and he saves the day at a dude ranch when the lady almost marries a bank robber disguised as a good guy. In another story, the lady sends Jack and Rex to space and doesn't want them to return, but an alien is annoyed with Jack and makes her take them back. Jack spends a lot of time antagonizing others, but does it with a smile. At the end of each book, there's a tutorial showing simple steps to draw a character from the story.

Is it any good?

The rabbit in these silly, fun books with simple words and engaging illustrations isn't exactly a model for being honorable and kind, but that's probably more obvious to adults. Young readers will practice with word repetition on the pages, and the eye-catching illustrations are a ton of fun. The expressions on Jack's face are subtle but funny, and the cartoonish style fits the stories perfectly. In the Jack Book series, Jack doesn't seem to care about anyone else, and his behavior -- stealing the lady's purse, drawing with her lipstick, upsetting an alien, etc. -- has minimal consequences. The lady repeatedly calls him "bad," and sends him away, and her almost marrying a stranger at a dude ranch is a little odd. The how-to-draw section at the end of each book is a fun way for readers to spend more time with the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lack of consequences in the Jack Book series. What do you think should happen when Jack does things he shouldn't?

  • Why is seeing someone else get in trouble funny? 

  • What other books have feisty characters like Jack?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love funny characters

Themes & Topics

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