Publisher: Sleepy Sheep Productions
Release Date: September 1st, 2014
What’s a Jack-in-the-box without his home? Poor Jack has never jumped out of anything before, but his worn out box. Can Barker, the neighborhood dog, prove to Jack that there are many more exciting jumps outside in the great, big world? Young readers will find lots of giggles in the rhyming text and wondrous jumps that Barker and Jack discover together. The full screen art by illustrator, Brian Allen, positively leaps off the page. The author, Julia Dweck, has done a wonderful job of weaving in the subtle message that it’s important to believe in yourself and to think outside of the box in order to realize life’s wondrous possibilities."If I were a parent, this would definitely be a book I'd want my kids to read (and hopefully love)."
Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the author. This did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for it!
In writing this review, I realize I'm probably not the best person to be writing reviews for children's/picture books as I didn't necessarily progress the same way many of my peers did and because I'm no longer a child nor do I have children, so I'm really out of touch with what a good children's book that's the appropriate level and content would be with the exception of general ideas. In reading some of the other reviews for this book, I found others pointing out bits that never would've stuck out or seemed strange to me. But anyway! Enough blabbing for me and onto the review.
I quite enjoyed Jump! from the very start, and it just got better throughout. There's a very simple rhyme scheme, but I think that works for younger readers. At the same time, the connecting of the ideas seems to be for slightly older readers (6ish?). Seeing as Dweck is a gifted elementary school teacher however, I can definitely see how this could work for more advanced younger readers. I feel like this is a book I would have enjoyed very much in pre-K and kindergarten, though it would have been too easy for me in first grade.
I absolutely love the moral/lesson/theme in Jump! It's an important one for kids--and for everyone--to learn. The moral is very clear throughout the book, at least for me. Personally, I'm not a fan of how she ends with outright stating the moral of the book, but I read somewhere that many children's books actually do that, so I'm not sure! Either way, I did enjoy the way the moral was presented throughout the book, and I love how she uses a jack-in-a-box to show the idea of thinking outside the box!
I also love Brian Allen's illustrations, which really pop and bring the story to life. The images matched the writing extremely well, and it's the perfect complement to the wonderful story.
And I must end by noting/pointing out the activities at the end of the book. They're so fun, and they really make kids think! I can see how being a gifted elementary school teacher actually has affected and influenced the way she writes and the content she includes. The activities are a great way for kids to get involved and engaged, even if they aren't fans of reading. Props to you, Julia!
If I were a parent, this would definitely be a book I'd want my kids to read (and hopefully love).