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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

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Saturday, February 20, 2010 1:29 pm
Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

41440319Lynn: We first met Rapunzel and Jack as they joined forces to clean up the mess at Gothel’s Reach in Rapunzel’s Revenge (Bloomsbury 2008). The main focus shifts to Jack in this second volume, Calamity Jack (Bloomsbury, 2010), and he wants to impress Rapunzel and show his mother that he is more than a scheming ne’er-do-well. With a satchel full of golden eggs, Jack decides to return home and make amends for the beanstalk disaster that sent him high-tailin’ it to the Wild West. There’s big trouble in Shyport as the giant Blunderboar is running the city and has captured Jack’s momma, forcing her to bake all sorts of bones into his bread. Jack and Rapunzel team up with a hat-loving pixie and handsome wealthy Frederick Sparksmith III to reclaim the town from the giants. Who are the Ant People? Can the screaming Brownies be silenced? Will smooth-talking Frederick win Rapunzel’s heart from fumble-tongued Jack? And – if Blunderboar wins, will Jack’s bones be made into dinner rolls or scones? Find the answers and lots of rip-snorting, smart-as-a-whip fun in this terrific graphic novel sequel. Fairy tales have never been so fun!

Cindy: Those of you who are new to this series, and to Bookends, might want to check out our blog post on the first installment, Rapunzel’s Revenge, on our original Bookends blog site. Lynn has sufficiently set the stage to tell you about the new story featuring Jack, so I’m going to concentrate on the incredible finds I made on Shannon Hale’s Official Website. English teachers will delight in the backstory rapunzel-dollson how the authors overcame the problems meshing setting with story and letting Jack star in a “big-budget” caper movie way. The additional details about the editing process will make good motivation for struggling student writers. On the website section for Rapunzel’s Revenge, readers and teachers will find brainstorming instruction, graphic novel script-writing information, a reader’s theater script for Rapunzel’s Revenge and ideas for using the books in the classroom. And how can you not LOVE the rootin’ tootin’ fabulous paper doll set of the characters and their outfits! And as for Calamity Jack? So many times through this high-energy story I was sent into peals of laughter at snarky, witty dialogue or Nathan Hale’s sly humor–a giant sipping tea from a delicate china cup with his pinky finger extended gracefully, anyone? Grab your red braided hair lasso and haul in this fun graphic novel, on sale now.

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