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Jake's Orphan Hardcover – April 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tree, a 12-year-old orphan so rootless that no one seems to notice his lack of a proper name, is the hero of this compelling debut novel set in 1926. When he is lent out to a dour North Dakota farmer for a year, he is glad to escape the dreary St. Paul orphanage and get a chance (so he thinks) at family life, even though his joy is tempered by anxiety about leaving his reckless 10-year-old brother, Acorn. But Mr. Gunderson, the farmer, makes it clear he is not looking for a son in Tree, and Tree is quick to realize how much of an outsider he is. When Acorn runs away from the orphanage and shows up at the farm, Tree's own precarious position falls into jeopardy. There are flaws here--overly neat timing, a somewhat easy (and easily foreseen) resolution with Mr. Gunderson's kindhearted brother, Jake, coming to Tree's rescue--but the prose itself is solid. Brooke's ability to build characters through small snippets of dialogue and her sensitivity to details give texture and depth to her poignant themes. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Twelve-year-old Tree's dream of leaving the orphanage comes true when he is selected to work on the Gunderson farm in North Dakota. Though he must leave his younger brother behind, he is excited at his new prospects and is confident that Acorn will soon be able to join him. Tree works diligently to learn the farm skills, but Gunderson is demanding and impatient, and the boy rarely measures up. But Jake, the farmer's bachelor brother, is a kind man with whom Tree feels a kinship. A school prank nearly gets Tree sent back to the orphanage, and when Acorn shows up, having hopped freight trains to get there, the precocious 10-year-old threatens the tenuous stability. Only a major snowstorm keeps them from both being sent back. The tension explodes when Acorn runs away, but Jake saves the day by offering to keep both boys. The story begins with great promise as Brooke paints a vivid picture of farm life in the early 1900s and introduces several worthy themes. Readers will feel Tree's desperate longing to become part of this family. Issues of family ties and differences are also explored, but they are inadequately developed. Instead of helping readers understand why the brothers are radically different from one another, or why they behave as they do, the plot and dialogue dwell on the endless and routine farm chores. For this reason, the sentimental ending is overly simplistic and leaves readers less than satisfied.
Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: DK CHILDREN; 1st edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789426285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789426284
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,364,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Peggy Brooke has created a story for children and young adultsthat people of all ages will enjoy for its true to life emotions andrelationships. The book is true to the time, true to the circumstances, and unlike so many literary efforts, concludes with a sense of closure that is at once poignant, but also very believable. The story is set in 1926, but the historical setting shouldn't throw readers disinterested in period fiction. Its themes are timeless and could speak very well to today's youth about the power of peer pressure, the value of hard work and family, and the beauty of selfless acts of love. I was most impressed by Peggy Brooke's ability to realistically portray the gut-wrenching struggles of conscience within her main character, Tree, and his sheer terror at the possibility of his brother destroying everything he has worked so hard to attain. Just as young people today might feel trapped by circumstance and worry there is no way out of a predicament, Tree's struggle illustrates there are always alternatives, always a chance for redemption.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jake's Orphan was a excellent book! I'm 15 years old and idon't read every book that comes across like my sister. But this bookwas a great book i was HOOKED to it! I couldn't put it down! I couldread this book over and over and never get tired of it!
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By jmn89 on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was one of my favorite books as a young kid. The writing is very good, and the story is wonderful. The author did an excellent job of showing what life was really like during that time in North Dakota.
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By jonotslow on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My granddaughter loves this book. It came in excellent condition, even signed by the author. Thank you so much for this great book. That was the most important thing on her Christmas List from Santa. It's her favorite book.
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