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Comment: 100% guaranteed delivery with Fulfillment By Amazon. Pages of this book are clean. This book shows minor shelf wear associated with limited use. This is a former Library book with normal library stamping and stickers. Purchase of this item will benefit the Friends of the Houston Public Library.
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Clever Jack Takes the Cake Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375849793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375849794
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3 A poor boy named Jack who helps a princess is a familiar trope in folklore. In this original tale, Jack accidentally receives an invitation to the princess's birthday party. He resourcefully gathers ingredients and bakes a wonderful cake. On his way to the castle, the cake is slowly demolished by crows, a troll, a spooky forest, a dancing bear, and even a palace guard, until the only present Jack has to offer the princess is the story of the cake's demise. Of course, this gift pleases her much more than the boring rubies and tiaras brought by richer guests, and she declares that her new friend will have the honor of cutting the royal cake. This entertaining adventure is packed with action. Karas's scratchy gouache and pencil cartoon illustrations are as detail-rich as the text itself. From the sly bear to the bored princess, the expressions are priceless. The endpapers provide context not included in the text: a party invitation blowing from the messenger's bag and under Jack's door at the beginning, and Jack regaling a fascinated princess with more tales at the end. A solid choice for most collections, and a good storytime choice, despite the smallish illustrations. Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Fleming and Karas, whose previous collaborations include Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! (2002), offer an original fairy tale that has the makings of a story-hour classic. Jack is thrilled when he receives an invitation to the princess’ birthday party, but he’s too poor to buy a present. Determined to make something instead, Jack trades his ax and quilt for flour and sugar, scrounges up more ingredients, and assembles a beautiful cake, topped with the “reddest, juiciest” strawberry in the land. Calamity strikes en route to the castle, though, and after run-ins with four-and-twenty blackbirds, a troll, a dark forest, and a dancing bear, Jack arrives at the party with only the magnificent strawberry, which a guard confiscates: the princess is allergic. After anxiously watching the bored birthday girl receive her presents (“Another tiara? How dull.”), Jack confesses that he has only an account of his day to offer. Luckily, the princess is delighted: “A story! And an adventure story at that! What a fine gift!” Fleming writes with rhythmic repetition and delicious word choices that lend themselves perfectly to dramatic narration, while Karas’ gouache-and-pencil art expertly amplifies each scene’s action and mood, and creates endearing characters in Jack and his new royal friend. Like Simms Taback’s Caldecott Medal winner Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (1999), this standout picture book emphasizes resourcefulness and the power and pleasure of a well-told tale. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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My four year old loves this book.
E. M. Compton
The illustrations are so good and the story is a gentle message of generosity and perseverance.
Ginny
I love the theme of the book, and the story is cute.
Laura A. Jackson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jack was sitting on a stump next to his table when someone slipped an invitation under his door. He was amazed when he saw it was from His Majesty the King. It was an invitation to the Princess's tenth birthday party and he was really excited until his mother said, "What a shame you can't go." Well, he didn't see why not, but she explained that they didn't have anything nice enough to give her nor money to buy anything. Jack, who was not to be undone by things like that, brainstormed and decided he was going to make her a marvelously grand cake.

He did a little bit of trading, coaxed the hen and cow into giving their donations, collected a few walnuts, sought out the best strawberry in the patch, and "he dipped candles." When he had all his ingredients gathered up, "he set to work, churning, chopping, blending, and baking." No doubt, it was the most beautiful cake in the land, but soon he ran into some problems as he tried to make his way to the castle.

Four-and-twenty ornery blackbirds swooped down and stole the walnuts from the top of the cake. Oh, no. Not to be discouraged, Jack kept on the path to the castle, proudly holding the remains of the cake. He met up with an ogre who demanded his share of the cake, he had to use the candles to make his way through the dark forest, and then there was that foolish bear. "Shuffle-shuffle-kick . . . G-U-U-U-L-P!" The only thing he had to offer the lovely princess was a strawberry because Samson, the bear, hated fruit and then a guard gulped that down. What was the princess going to think about someone who had nothing at all to offer her? Would they even let poor Jack into the party or would he be the laughingstock of the town?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Clever Jack Takes the Cake" is an engaging story that captivated my five-and-a-half year old daughter. Jack is a poor boy who lives with his mother in a run down hut. When he receives an invitation to attend the princess's 10th birthday celebration, Jack is eager to go but wonders, "What will he bring for a gift?" Luckily Jack uses his imagination and decides to bake the princess a cake (as to how he affords the ingredients, you'll just have to read the story! Let's just say Jack is indeed a clever little boy).

Well, Jack's cake turns out beautifully, and he leaves for the princess's castle, but encounters several things on his way - black birds, a troll, sinister woods, and a dancing bear - in the process the cake begins 'disappearing'! Will clever Jack have anything left to give the princess by the time he reaches the castle? This is a delightful little tale that focuses on imagination being put to good use, creativity, and friendship. It is quite an original tale with some familiar characters from other fairy tales, and has lovely illustrations that will engage young children's interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When the invitations go out across the kingdom for the princess's tenth birthday party, Jacks mother tells him that he cannot go because he does not have money to purchase a grand gift. Well, what Jack does have is his cleverness. And so, he rounds up everything he needs to make a delicious cake. But, on his way to the party he runs into numerous adventures that eventually cost him the cake. Now what can he give the young princess? It turns out he might just have the gift that she wants the most!

This is a very charming story, with a great storyline that reminds me of all those great old time fairytales. The illustration work is very nice - somewhat primitive to keep the story might and childlike. Both my six-year-old and I enjoyed this book, and we have read it repeatedly. It's a very good book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steph Bryan on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My 6-year-old boy LOVED this book when I read it at bedtime, as did my 3-year-old twins. (The title of this review is an actual quote from my older boy once the book was finished.) The tale of poor jack and his hapless cake kept them all rapt with attention, smiling at the end, but visibly sorry when it was through. A true gem.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TGL on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(Sorry about the title, I couldn't resist.) I love this book. So much, in fact, that I when I recently had to leave town on business for a few weeks, I stuck it in my suitcase the way a kid would stow away a blankie. If you want to see what comprises a perfect children's picture book, consider this a benchmark. The story feels like a classic fable, but it's kid-friendly, with a determined, resourceful protagonist we can all relate to. The writing moves along smoothly with tasty descriptions and a lovely page of rhythmic, roll-around-in-your-mouth prose that's fun to read aloud. But more than anything, it's the design and illustrations that knock me out. Every spread is elegantly composed, with the type and illustrations woven seamlessly together in ways that make the story flow and give fun bits of visual punctuation at key points. And don't be fooled by the child-like style of Mr. Karas' illustrations. Though his technique is loose, the compositions and their effects are very sophisticated. From the drama of Jack being attacked by a bold pattern of flat-black crows to the whimsy of a bear spitting a strawberry across across two pages, each illustration is wonderfully constructed to bring that episode to life. The endpapers, which establish the setting, and wordlessly begin and end the story, are the icing on this delicious cake.
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