Calamity Jack is the hero of this engaging graphic novel. Born to “scheme”, Jack sets his sights on what he wants and will go for it no matter what the consequences. Unfortunately it seems bad luck follows him. Good intentions he may have, but the end result is not always “ideal”. Just like another Jack we’ve heard about, Calamity Jack buys some magic beans that lead him straight to some cranky giants. The great beanstalk may provide him with a goose that lays golden eggs, but it also destroys his mom’s bakery. His exasperated mom sends him away, and he goes westward. He needs to hide anyway from the giants, and he hopes once the goose lays him some eggs he can go home and help rebuild the bakery. Joined by his friend Rapunzel, (a star of another one of Hale’s graphic novels) they return home to find out his mom is in trouble and his city in shambles. Can they save her? Or will once again calamity follow Jack?
I’ve never been a huge fan of graphic novels, but I have to say this one tells a good story, and has some dazzling illustrations – the kind that make you want to linger over the page once the dialogue is read. My review-copy was black and white, but the finished book will be full color throughout. Jack, despite his sordid past and tendency toward misfortune, is a likeable hero and it’s easy to root for him to succeed. He also has some interesting side-kicks (Rapunzel and Pixie) and a nasty villain (Blunderboar) to fight. Any kid who balks at reading books, and even those who like to sink their teeth into a good novel will enjoy this book.
I’d like to thank the publishers bloomsburyusa.com for providing me with an advance reading copy of Calamity Jack for this review.
Want to learn more about Shannon Hale? Here’s a short biography from her website:
“Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six award-winning young adult novels, including the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, and two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. She co-wrote a graphic novel, Rapunzel’s Revenge, with husband Dean Hale. They live with their two small children near Salt Lake City, Utah.” For even more information, visit her website at: http://www.squeetus.com/stage/main.html
Also, Here’s Dean’s website: http://www.dreadcrumbs.com/
And Nathan’s http://spacestationnathan.blogspot.com/