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Jack on the Tracks: Four Seasons of Fifth Grade (Jack Henry Adventures (Paperback)) Paperback – 12 Sep 2001


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Review

"Jack...returns here in an account of the year before his other adventures, when his family first moves to Florida...His struggle for maturation is enhanced by Gantos' effervescent writing style and grasp of the gross and horrifying...This will reel kids right in." --"Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


"Jack . . . returns here in an account of the year before his other adventures, when his family first moves to Florida . . . His struggle for maturation is enhanced by Gantos' effervescent writing style and grasp of the gross and horrifying . . . This will reel kids right in." --"Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

"Jack . . . returns here in an account of the year . . . when his family first moves to Florida . . . His struggle for maturation is enhanced by Gantos's effervescent writing style and grasp of the gross and horrifying . . . This will reel kids right in." --"Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

"A laugh-out-loud read inhabited by killer cats, giant tapeworms, and escaped convicts." --"The Horn Book"

""

"Hilarious, exquisitely painful, and utterly on-target." --"Booklist"

""

"Poignant, funny, and real." --"School Library Journal"



Jack . . . returns here in an account of the year . . . when his family first moves to Florida . . . His struggle for maturation is enhanced by Gantos's effervescent writing style and grasp of the gross and horrifying . . . This will reel kids right in. "Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

A laugh-out-loud read inhabited by killer cats, giant tapeworms, and escaped convicts. "The Horn Book"

Hilarious, exquisitely painful, and utterly on-target. "Booklist"

Poignant, funny, and real. "School Library Journal""

About the Author

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 born in Mount Pleasant, 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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars 20 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even kids who hate books will beg for more of this 16 April 2003
By Another Teacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you know a reluctant reader in the 10-12 year old age bracket, this is the perfect title to change their mind about books. As a teacher, I've watched sixth grade boys (girls too!) snort and literally fall out of their chairs in fits of laughter over this one--for some it is the first book they have truthfully read cover to cover. No skimming. No fake reading. Pure enjoyment. Comprehension shoots up dramatically for these kids. They can't wait to meet to talk about Jack. They'll gladly reread their favorite misadventure to a friend--and with new found fluency. You can't imagine how wonderful it is to see your weaker readers standing in line for lunch saying, "Did you get to the part yet where . . . That book is SO funny!" Jack is their hero, living out their secret fantasy, when he drops a cockroach in the mouth of his sleeping sister.
Having said that, I feel I must address the concerns of the other educators who have written reviews here. Yes, Jack pulls a few stunts that might raise an eyebrow. He may not be a top-notch role model, but this is why children love him. He has a Bart Simpson type appeal-- slightly deviant, but lovable, and he often DOES suffer from the consequences of his poor judgement. Teachers who feel this is inappropriate because a child might immitate these episodes are not living in the same world as their students. This book is like an installment of the Wonderful World of Disney compared to the video games, movies, magazines, and regular television most children are entertained by for hour upon hour. You can't sanitize everything for children--what a pleasure killer. And I have NEVER met a twelve year old child who thought it would be safe to lie down in front of a train. Sit down and ask one if you are not sure. Reading should be fun--children do not have the same taste in books as their middle-aged, well-intentioned teachers.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jump Back Jack! 7 April 2009
By 5th Grade Teacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a 5th grade teacher. I ordered Jack on the Tracks for my class. I have just wasted my money. I cannot use these books in my classroom. I was reviewing through this book before using it in class, when I saw the chapter entitled "Adults Only." I could NOT believe that an author would put in a ten and eleven year old book the topics of PORNO and STRIPTEASE! Not to mention a lot of other inappropriate parts in the book.

I am thinking of starting a bonfire now!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Thoughtful 5 Mar. 2001
By Jamal Traub - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Jack on the Tracks. As always, Gantos creates a fun mix of humor and tragedy (read Jack's Black Book, the best in the series). To address one reviewer's comments: yes, Jack does accidentally kill his cats often. However, the book's approach isn't heartless. I recall Jack tried very hard not to cry in front of his family at the death of his pet. Writing about the death of household pets isn't neccesarily cruel. I don't think Gantos meant to include the subject matter as comedial; he probably found it realistic. How often does a pet-owner lose his pets to accidents? Probably not as often as Jack, but you see my point.
That said, read the book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely Inappropriate 22 Sept. 2011
By haricotbleu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought the book because it seemed like a fun, lighthearted read. Well, the book is well-written, I'll give it that, but it is completely outrageous (inappropriate)!! I can't believe this is written for a 5th grade audience. Basically, the poor kid is abused by his sister, parents, and friends and it is supposed to be funny, but it's really just sick. And the events are disrespectful and over the top. Topics include suicidal ideation, drinking, nudity, trying to see nudity, dangerous behaviors, and abuse.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO STARS for PORNO & STRIPTEASE!!!!!! 8 Oct. 2008
By A. Aden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my 11 year old daughter. She's an avid reader -- books delight her and cause her to get in trouble when she's supposed to be sleeping or getting ready for school.

She was reading this past sleepy Sunday afternoon and asked me what "porno" and "striptease" means. WHAT?! Where did my ELEVEN year old child learn these words? She turned to pages 140-141 of Jack on the Tracks and there they were! I am deeply disappointed in an author who feels these are suitable words to use in a CHILD'S book.

Please keep in mind that I am a very open parent. When my child asks me what lesbian means or the true details of how babies are made, I don't hesitate. But how on earth do I explain porno and striptease to an 11 year old? I shouldn't have to at her age!!!
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