Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Schwartz & Wade Books, Hardcover, 9780375849794, 40pp.
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
What would you do if you were invited to the princess's tenth birthday party but didn t have money for a gift? Well, clever Jack decides to bake the princess a cake.
Now he just has to get it to the castle in one piece. What could "possibly" go wrong?
Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas, creators of the bestselling picture book "Muncha Muncha " "Muncha , " have teamed up again to bring us a modern fairy tale starring a determined boy and a story-loving princess with a good sense of humor. While girls will fall for a story featuring a princess's birthday party, Jack's adventures with trolls, bears, and gypsies make this the perfect read for young boys as well and ideal for storytime.
I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn t. I didn t have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I d certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story . . . and seeing my listener s reaction.
Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year-old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn t stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They re precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.
In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Ms. Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again. I tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words -- to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful and yet told a story.
As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college, where I discovered yet another passion -- history. I didn t realize it then, but studying history was really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.
After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that s when I discovered the joy and music of children s books. I simply couldn t get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children s books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved -- stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn t wait to get started.
But writing children s books is harder than it sounds. For three years, I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn t give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children s author had begun.
Candace Fleming lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois.
G. Brian Karas has illustrated many children s books, including "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" And "Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide! "by Candace Fleming; "Incredible Me" by Kathi Appelt; the High-Rise Private Eyes series by Cynthia Rylant; and "Ivan "by Catherine Applegate, which was a "New York Times "bestseller. His books have been named ALA Notables, Booklist Editor Choices, SLJ Best Books, and Boston Globe Horn Book Honor books. He lives in upstate New York. Visit him online at GBrianKaras.com.
Starred Review, Booklist, July 2010:
"An original fairy tale that has the makings of a story-hour classic. . . This standout picture book emphasizes resourcefulness and the power and pleasure of a well-told tale."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 2010:
"The simple-but-expressive, cartoonish illustrations on textured paper and the delightfully clever design further distinguish this cheerful charmer."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2010:
The creators of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! celebrate storytelling with a sparkling specimen of that very thing. . .With muted tones and subtle textures, the pictures capture the tale's humor and Jack's earnest nature."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2010:
This entertaining adventure is packed with action. Karas's schratchy gouache and pencil cartoon illustrations are as detail-rich as the text itself."