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Jack and the Box: TOON Level 1 Hardcover – October 1, 2008

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Jack and the Box: TOON Level 1 + A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse: TOON Level 1 + Barry's Best Buddy: TOON Level 1
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–2—A mischievous, easy-to-read comic story similar in tone and audience to The Cat in the Hat. Jack receives a jack-in-the-box as a present. Its manically entertaining occupant, Zack, keeps its owner guessing. Fortunately, when the fun gets out of hand, Zack and his friend Mack save Jack by wanting to trade the lamp they broke for a brand-new one, produced from inside the box. While the story is wacky, the cartoon artwork will appeal to a broad range of lower-level readers. True to its comic-strip roots, without the clutter that some children have a hard time reading, this title is a surefire hit.—Sarah Provence, Churchill Road Elementary School, McLean, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Comic visionary and living legend Spiegelman has ignored the effects of Early Success Syndrome and plowed right ahead, finding different methods of bringing sequential art to new audiences in interesting ways. Attempting to match the extraordinary achievement of Maus (1986) would be difficult, to say the least, so he and wife Francoise Mouly have developed the Toon imprint for very young readers. Balancing the aesthetic of comics with the familiarity of picture books, and even harkening back to Dr. Seuss, Spiegelman has produced a polished and fun story following a young bunny’s struggle with his new jack-in-the-box, which proves to be hyperactive and rather argumentative. With plenty of word repetition and age-appropriate humor to keep pre- and early readers engaged and curious, Spiegelman has taken sequential-art basics and fitted them to his new audience. Like all the Toon books released so far (Benny and Penny in Just Pretend, Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons, and Otto’s Orange Day, all 2008), Jack and the Box is beautifully conceived and executed. Grades K-1. --Jesse Karp
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 100L (What's this?)
  • Series: Toon
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Toon Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979923832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979923838
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.4 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jared Castle VINE VOICE on October 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.

"Jack and the Box" is fun. 5 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cthulhu #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Art Spiegelman, the author, learned to read by looking at comics, or so he claims. My little girl learned how to read NO, WOW, HEY, NOW, BAD, even SILLY tonight as we 'read' this little story. As Art would probably write, she LOVED it!

If someone didn't get it, let me decode what this story is about. Or, at least that's my little girl's reading of it. Jack gets a BOX and ALL that follows is a PLAY of Jack's imagination AND Jack IS a SILLY boy. Watch for the REDS - all things RED are creatures of JACK's imagination. Kids should learn not only reading a few simple words but they should also feel encouraged to let their own imagination run silly and explore the unexpected.

Technical details: hard cover, simple but effective drawings, minimal colors, vocabulary well-suited for a 4-6 year old.

Did I mention that my girl enjoyed it? She can't wait for her girlfriends to come visiting so she can go over the story with them. Right now, she's trying to tell it to her mother.

The story being so silly and unboring I can see how we can go over it a few more times and keep practicing some of the simple words.

The 5 stars are awarded because my girl's clearly enjoying it and because she felt so proud for being able to point to me the clue pointing to the Jack's adventures being imaginary (it's the lamp).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Jack And The Box" by Art Spiegelman (2008)

This is dark-toned children's book from renowned illustrator Art Spiegelman (known for his work on RAW magazine, The New Yorker, the "Maus" graphic novels, and a murky past as an underground cartoonist and Wacky Packs designer) It's very much in keeping with the "Kid's Lit" series he edited -- artful stories that are intended as much for eggheady kids as for their adult minders. In this story, a boy named Jack gets a jack-in-the-box as a present, but soon finds that the toy has a mind of its own. Their interactions are brief, oblique, and sometimes a bit creepy. This seems to play into the same fear that some people have of clowns, where something that's supposed to be "fun" turns out to have a dark, hidden side. I think for the right reader, this would be a great book, although we were a little creeped out by it. Worth checking out ahead of time. (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Walker VINE VOICE on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a very mixed review for this book. First I read it to my 3 year old and she did not like it at all. She thought it was scary and I did too. The pictures of the toy coming out of the box are very disturbing. Next my six year old read it and she really like it and thought it was funny. She has just starting learning to read and she could read most of the words in the book. She even got out a piece of paper and starting writing some of the rhyming words from the book. I could not believe that she was enjoying it so much but she really did sit for a while and read it. Next my 9 year old son read it and he said "this book is really creepy". This is not a book that I enjoyed but if you are having trouble getting a new reader to practice reading it might be a good idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By palealien VINE VOICE on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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