From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2 In this poorly executed story that is based on Irish folktales, greedy Jack meets a strange man whom others say is the devil. Thinking only of his hunger, he gorges himself on fine foods after agreeing to repay the debt on the day he dies. Years later, on Halloween, the devil comes to collect the money and finds the man carving a pumpkin for soup on his doorstep. With murderous intent, the devil throws a burning coal at Jack, who catches it in the freshly carved pumpkin. Surviving the attack, he is condemned to wander the Earth after death. He carries his glowing pumpkin with him on his travels, and so is named Jack of the lantern. Dorman's Photoshop painted illustrations are appropriately creepy and extremely imaginative the devil's feet alone are enough to bring on a case of the shivers. The text, however, is awkward and confusing. With so many quality Halloween picture books available, most libraries can skip this one. Heather Acerro, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN
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Through this tale about a nasty man named Jack, Tegen presents a vivid version of the origins of the current-day custom of placing carved, lighted pumpkins out at Halloween. The brief text tells how Jack makes a pact with a man believed to be the devil, escapes paying his due by catching a flaming coal tossed at him in a carved pumpkin, and is then condemned to eternally wandering the earth. (A short afterword explains that the story comes from Irish folktales.) Lavish, carefully composed, full-page illustrations with the look of oil paintings clearly depict the actions of the despicable characters against pleasingly detailed backgrounds with plenty of mouthwatering fruits and vegetables on hand. With Jack skulking around, the effect is a little creepy, but overall, with the smiling pumpkins, it is only slightly scary. Well suited for use in a pumpkin-decorating program—or any Halloween program. Pair with tales such as Very Scary, by Tony Johnston (1995). Preschool-Grade 1. --Randall Enos