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Jip, His Story Hardcover – October 1, 1996

47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

When an aged lunatic named Putnam arrives at a poorhouse farm in rural Vermont in 1855, he is treated as little more than a beast by everyone except the orphan Jip, who himself arrived at the charity orphanage/asylum after being found abandoned by the roadside. Jip and Putnam become friends, then allies of a sort, as Jip struggles to improve his own lot and that of his friend Lucy, the unfortunate daughter of the late town drunk. This historical tale by Katherine Paterson involves its young protagonist in the great 19th century struggle between slave owners and abolitionists while sending him into a test of his own loyalty and courage. Paterson handles weighty issues with grace and verve, and does not shrink from terrible truths in this challenging novel for young readers.

From Publishers Weekly

Abandoned as an infant, Jip West accepts his grim fate on a Vermont poor farm without question until a series of disturbing events changes his beliefs about himself and the people around him. The turning point occurs when, in the year 1855, Jip (who has a gift for "handling beasts and residents") becomes caretaker of a lunatic brought to the farm. The boy's growing friendship with the mysterious, moody man called Put coincides with Jip's discovery that his mother was a runaway slave. Tension mounts when Jip's biological father, the master of a Southern plantation, arrives to retrieve his "property." Like Paterson's Newbery-winning Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved, this historically accurate story is full of revelations and surprises, one of which is the return appearance of the heroine of Lyddie. While Jip's concerns provide insight into 19th-century society, his yearnings for freedom and knowledge are timeless. The taut, extremely readable narrative and its tender depictions of friendship and loyalty provide first-rate entertainment. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525675434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525675433
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,458,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Katherine Paterson has twice won both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. She received the 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Medal as well as the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for the body of her work. An active promoter of reading and literacy, she lives with her husband, John, in Barre, Vermont. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Visit Katherine Paterson on her web site at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Sawyers on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jip His Story Penguin Group, 1996, 180 pp., $5.99
Katherine Paterson ISBN 0-H0386712
How would you feel if everybody told you that when you were a baby, you fell off the back of a wagon and nobody came back for you and the only person who knows the truth is a complete stranger who has been following your every move? That's what happened to Jip, the protagonist of Katherine Paterson's Jip His Story. When he tries to find out answers, his whole world is turned upside down.
Jip is a thirteen year-old boy who lives on a barn with Mr. and Ms. Lyman, neither of which are his real parents. Supposedly, Jip fell off the back off of a wagon and no one came back for him or even cared. Mr. Lyman found Jip on the side of the road and took him back to his barn. As soon as Jip was old enough to work, Mr. Lyman put him to work in the barn; they made hi feed the animals clean the house. Jip had to do all the dirty work. Jip hates working in the barn.
One day a truck pulled up to the barn and in the back was a guy who everyone thought was a lunatic. At first Jip was frightened to talk to him, but when he got to know him, this lunatic became his best friend Put. Jip eventually decides that he wants to find his real parents and get as far away from the Lyman's and the barn as possible. Jip doesn't know exactly where he needs to go, but he knows he needs to get away. Jip and Put are on a quest to leave the town, but bad things start to happen when a mysterious stranger starts following Jip, telling him he knows his real dad.
This is a really excellent book about friendship and trust. I recommend this book to anyone who likes books in the genre of realistic fiction. This book has a lot of adventure in it too. I really got into this book and I couldn't put it down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was really good. I'm 11 and in Language Arts we did an author study on Katherine Paterson. I was required to read this book. At first it seemed pretty boring but once I passed the 2nd chapter I fell in love with it.
Oh yea in case you was wondering the book is about a boy named Jip. His name is Jip because it is like short for gypsy. Everyone said Jip was a gypsy baby because he fell off this wagon and was abandon. Well anyway he lives in the Poor Town. He has to work really hard and take care of everyone, he is basically the ONLY reliable person there. One day, this lunatic comes into the town. He's name is Put. Jip and Put have a special connection and they become fast friends.At the same time, he has many other friends on the town who are somewhat jealous of Put and Jip's relationship. One day a stranger comes into town and he might have the information about Jip's past. When jip finds out who he truly is he takes a turn for the worst. he has to leave behind everything in order to save himself. The most difficult thing he must do is realize Put isn't well enough to come. Wheather that stops him from bringing him anyway, I just can't tell you ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Avid on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jip: His Story is far from a typical story. This historical fiction provides great insight into the Underground Railroad simply through understatement! Jip, receiving his name from the belief that he fell off the back of a gypsy wagon that didn't care to stop for him, grows up on the local poor farm. Even in the most dier circumstances, Jip finds a friend in the newest poor farm resident - the lunatic. When a stranger shows up with a suspicious interest in Jip, Jip begins his baffling search for identity. I love the perspective of this book and Patterson's subtle story. I wish I could say more, but don't want to ruin the unfolding of the true conflict.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the book Jip: His Story by Katherine Paterson, a boy named Jip, who is living on a poor farm, sets out to get away from a slave catcher. After starting a life-long friendship with the local maniac, Put, Jip is suddenly found by a stranger who claims to know about his real father. Jip is not sure what to do, but when the stranger tries to catch him along with a slave catcher, Jip takes Put and goes to the Stevens' house for help. The Stevens' are people who told Jip about his past and offered to help out of danger.
This was an amazing book that I really enjoyed reading. The plot line was incredible and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure story. One of the best parts of the plot is when Jip was trying to find his schoolteacher who promised to help him if anything bad happened. When he was almost there, he saw the slave catcher and some dogs that he had gotten to know started barking so the slave catcher knew someone was there. The only flaw with this book is that it took a while to get to the good part, so for the first few chapters, I didn't really care for the story. When I finished the book though, it was worth it. Throughout the story, I had feeling when I was actually in the book actually seeing what was happening first hand even though I was only reading a book. The one time I could feel myself not actually reading the book and like I was part of the book, was at the very end of the story, which I don't wish to give away at this time. The text gave me a very detailed picture in my mind allowing me to feel like I was in the story.
The plotline shown above only gives you the story at a glance. You will have to read through the entire book to get the good details. The book also comes complete with one heck of a good ending.
This book is great.
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