Jack's Black Book by Jack Gantos
What Happens When You Flunk an IQ Test? (Jack Henry)

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Synopsis

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt,  the uproarious final volume of Jack Henry stories


According to his new motto—A WRITER’S JOB IS TO TURN HIS WORST EXPERIENCES INTO MONEY—Jack Gantos’s alter ego Jack Henry is going to be filty rich even before he gets out of junior high, for his life is filled with the worst experiences imaginable. For instance, in the course of the few months covered in this closing cycle of interlinked stories, Jack is humiliated by a gorgeous syncronized swimmer, gets a tattoo the size of an ant on his big toe, flubs an IQ test and nearly fails wood shop, and has to dig up his dead dog not once but twice. And that’s not the half of it!

At the close of this final book of semi-autobiographical stories, Jack may not end up rolling in dough, but he will prove once again “a survivor, an ‘everyboy’ whose world may be wacko but whose heart and spirit are eminently sane” (School Library Journal).


 

About Jack Gantos

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Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published June 2, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 180 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jack's Black Book

Kirkus Reviews

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Jack’s back (Jack’s Black Book, 1997, etc.) and wacko enough to water ski on land, feed his sleeping sister a cockroach, and bring about the unfortunate demise of three pet cats.

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on the trip to the vet, Jack's father suggests tying the dog to the car, like a dead deer, in case its bladder lets go (it's not the first time the dog's bodily functions are discussed).

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Publishers Weekly

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At the end of seventh grade, Jack Henry decides to write a novel in this third collection of interlinked stories. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) r

Sep 13 1999 | Read Full Review of Jack's Black Book: What Happe...

Publishers Weekly

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Gantos draws inspiration from his own childhood diaries in the fourth collection of stories about Jack Henry.

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Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succes...

Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Jack's Black Book: What Happe...

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These companion stories to the Jack Henry books are ""extravagantly imaginative adventures,"" said PW;

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by Jack Gantos, finds the hero flustered by his parent's questionable reunion and his ailing grandmother's efforts to push Joey to make friends.

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In a starred review, PW said, "Like its predecessor, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, this high-voltage, honest novel mixes humor, pain, fear and courage with deceptive ease."

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Depicting an inspired contest of wills between the normally notorious Ralph and his newly naughty taskmaster, this effort brims with Gantos and Rubel's characteristically and irresistibly funny details: Mr. Fred's ``golden rules'' prohibit meowing, hissing, burping and fun (Ralph makes a paper ai...

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Fans of Gantos's irrepressible Ralph who are ready to graduate from picture books will eagerly leap into this early chapter book, the first installment of the Rotten Ralph Rotten Reader series.

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Knowing that the narrator is destined to land in jail keeps suspense at a high pitch, but this book's remarkable achievement is the multiple points of view that emerge, as experiences force a fledgling writer to continually revise his perspective of himself and the world around him.

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Jack Gantos continues the Jack Henry Books (Jack on the Tracks;

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when he can think of nothing to write, he begins to pack the diary with ``stuff''--bugs, baseball cards, stamps and so on--but he concludes, ``I was covering over the empty white space of the pages in the same way I covered my eyes with my hands when I watched a monster movie.'' A bittersweet res...

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At the end of seventh grade, Jack Henry decides to write a novel in this third collection of interlinked stories.

| Read Full Review of Jack's Black Book: What Happe...

Publishers Weekly

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At the end of seventh grade, Jack Henry decides to write a novel in this third collection of interlinked stories. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) r

Sep 13 1999 | Read Full Review of Jack's Black Book: What Happe...

Kirkus Reviews

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An exhilarating summer marked by death, gore and fire sparks deep thoughts in a small-town lad not uncoincidentally named "Jack ...

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