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Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life Is a Joke
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that New York Times best-seller Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life Is a Joke is a follow-up to James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein's Jacky Ha-Ha and covers a 12-year-old's summer adventures in the 1990s. Popular '90s products and pop culture references are featured alongside more about Shakespeare. There are lots of summer crushes, as well as swooning and confusing feelings typical of 12- to 16-year-olds, and a few quick kisses but nothing heavy. A kid's mother has died before we meet him in the book. His father is a soldier serving in the Gulf War. Parents should be ready to discuss the Gulf War, older technology, crushes, and confronting a friend you think is doing something bad.
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What's the story?
In JACKY HA-HA: MY LIFE IS A JOKE, Jacky is planning for an epic summer doing nothing, but instead has to get a job! When her summer turns into an epic time of crushes, Broadway plays, and intrigue, Jacky struggles to make it all work. How will she juggle it all? Or will her life be a joke?
Is it any good?
Funny, touching, and timely, despite taking place in the past, this lively chapter book will keep readers laughing and engaged from the first page. The quick pacing and hilarious drawings put an emphasis on Jacky's crazy summer. Authors James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein do an excellent job of balancing the funny moments with the poignant ones, never letting the plot get bogged down in crush madness. The adults in the book are caring enough that the kids know they can seek them out for guidance, but they also allow the kids enough room to learn and make mistakes.
Readers and parents alike will enjoy the lessons, flashbacks, and fun of Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life Is a Joke. It definitely lives up to the hijinks and lessons of the first book, even if it's a bit lighter in subject matter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the time period in which Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life Is a Joke is set vs. now. What's the same? What's different? Are the differences significant? In what way?
Jacky and her sisters get jobs to help the family's finances. Could you take on that type of responsibility? How do you help around the house? What are your responsibilities?
Jacky makes a huge mistake and a friend suffers for it. What steps does she take to make it right? Can you think of a big mistake you've made? How did you fix it?
- Authors: James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
- Illustrator: Kerascoët
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: October 30, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.