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Jackson VS. Witchy Wanda: Making kid Soup Paperback – April 29, 2013
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Our order was complete; two copies of J vs WW: MKS and the ultra-mini-hub for our computer. After dinner I read the first three pages of J vs WW. The next day, late in the afternoon I started reading the book in earnest. By bed time I was half-way through. I set the book aside and retired. That day I had also stopped taking pain pills for discomfort from my recent total hip replacement, and maybe because of that, or because Witchy Wanda was playing games with my mind, I couldn't sleep. So I got up, stretched out on my recliner and kept reading. At 3:00 a.m., when I finished the book, I set it aside. An unexplained uneasiness caused me to shiver. I covered myself with a blanket and fell into a deep sleep, full of vivid Technicolor dreams. I awoke, convinced, that, even though, at the end of the story, Witchy Wanda had been defeated, she was alive and well. The vibrating package, scorched rectangle and delicate almost invisible wisp of smoke all supported my suspicions. I suspect that, now, and for some time into the future, Witchy Wanda will bedevil the occupants of our home.
Our grandson, just out of first grade and a very precocious student, started reading J vs WW: MKS. He's not quite up to all the words in the story, but his comment after ten pages or so was that he would look forward to reading all of it.
Meanwhile, Wanda pops up again and again like the repeated appearances of the mole in a whac-a-mole game. Time after time poor benighted Jackson thinks he has bested her, but she comes back to torment him and try to eat him and his friends.
But the good news is that Jackson finally has some friends and allies. This happens as he keeps trying to save the children and defeat the witch (without telling any adults, of course) and also without using violence. He ends up with at least three friends plus a cat and a deeper relationship with his possibly demented but maybe just shell-shocked grandfather.
One of my favorite moments, though, is when Wanda argues that she is simply a predator: she eats children, and occasionally road kill and rodents, but she insists she's no different than the kids when they eat a hamburger. It's an argument that has appeal, especially when put forth by such an enthusiast. Of course, in the end Wanda is finally defeated– but with just enough wiggle room that there might be a sequel, which I, for one, look forward to.
This youth novel is the intriguing story of a few days in the life of young Jackson McKinney, a small town boy with some big problems.
Jackson has a hearing disability and this puts him in harm's way with two classroom bullies. Combine bullies and bad hearing with strict parents, a confused but kindly grandfather, an attractive young girl, an after-school job, and some rather clueless adults, and you get the picture.
Jackson's latest problem is a witch. Witchy Wanda has come to town and he's the only one who comprehends her evil intentions, one of which is to make tasty soup of the town's kids.
He escapes Wanda's clutches but lands in hot water at school, at home, and at his job. Even the local--and rather dense--cop is no help. Jackson realizes nobody believes a kid. Furthermore, if his parents ground him, no one will stop Witchy Wanda.
This is the kind of story young readers will devour in one swift gulp and come back for more. Its characters are unusual and well developed and the plot is finely convoluted.