Wednesday 11 February 2015

One Rule for Jack

One Rule for Jack by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-033-0
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

If there is one thing Jack hates more than showers, it’s the jobs Mum gives him on Saturday mornings. They always need to be finished before he is allowed to go hang out with his mate Thommo. Jack knows how to get out of chores. It’s just that somehow all his efforts seem to be backfiring.
And then Dad gives him the worst job of all. Surely his plan cannot fail here.
Australian indigenous culture is quietly but firmly present in this story.  Yet the book transcends race.  This is a story every young boy, or girl, will easily relate to. Who wants to be sweeping the patio or washing the dog when their mate is waiting on a sunny Saturday morning?
One Rule for Jack is a gentle, funny, tale. There is a lovely family atmosphere - with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Joe living next door. And the lesson Jack learns comes across naturally without being preachy or moralising.
Jack is an engaging narrator, giving tips to the reader throughout. 'Okay - here's a pro tip. Inside jobs are the hardest. One parent is usually hanging around. If you're not careful they can catch you out.'
The cheeky sense of fun is carried in the illustrations as well. The look on Jack's face as he manoeuvres a plunger into the toilet is priceless. And the way his mother and grandmother gather around to help him solve his problems reinforces the closeness of the family.
Smith's soft black and white pictures illustrate each page of the book and help to create an easy and enjoyable story for beginner readers. The short chapters, large font and straight-forward words and sentences make this an accessible story for young primary aged children, while the humour and storyline speaks to every child.

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