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Book Title: The Several Lives of Orphan Jack|
Date of issue: June 5th 2003
ISBN 13: 9780888995292
The author of the book: Sarah Ellis
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 657 KB
Edition: Groundwood Books
Read full description of the books The Several Lives of Orphan Jack:Surprises abound. As I thumbed through the meager offerings at the Negril Library, I stumbled on this gem, but then I had to make a choice: could I take it out? The contrast between my Brookline library and Negril’s is enormous. In Brookline there’s no limit to the number of books I can borrow nor is there a limit to the number of books I WANT to borrow. In Negril I needed to establish a perfect track record of taking out and returning a maximum of three books for several months before I was given the privilege of checking out six books. Six is the limit! The day I spotted Sarah Ellis’s name I was particularly focused on books for my two tutoring students so I replaced The Several Lives of Orphan Jack on the shelf - longingly.
Years ago Barbara Scotto introduced me to Sarah Ellis at CLNE (Children’s Literature New England). From the first page of this slim novel, I felt Sarah’s intelligent, thoughtful presence and her delightful sense of humor:
Schoolmaster Bane of the Opportunities School for Orphans and Foundlings asks, “What is the purpose of snow?” and admonishes a student for his incorrect answer, “No, you booby-brained mutton head.” (pp. 13-14)
This book is charming from start to finish. Jack (known as OtherJack because there was already another orphan named Jack when he arrived at the school) has one precious possession:
At Christmas each student at the Opportunities School was given a pair of socks and a present. The Christmas Otherjack was ten, the Benevolents had given him a dictionary. It was grubby and missing the first part so that it didn’t have any A or B words, but from C to Z it had given Otherjack some of his happiest moments. The words were always there ready to be taken out and used or just examined. A sunrise was better when you knew the word sublime. Oatmeal for dinner was somehow not so sad when you knew the word mangy. A bashing from Edwin was not so horrible when you could secretly call him a vandal.
Best of all, the other boys could not steal or spoil Otherjack’s words. They were his secret hoard. (p. 22)
This slim treasure is about the magical power of words and ideas. Recommended for third grade and up.
Sarah Ellis is a Canadian author who deserves much more of our attention.
Read information about the authorWriter, columnist, and librarian Sarah Ellis has become one of the best-known authors for young adults in her native Canada with titles such as The Baby Project, Pick-Up Sticks, and Back of Beyond: Stories of the Supernatural. In addition to young adult novels, Ellis has also written for younger children and has authored several books about the craft of writing. Praised by Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman as "one of the best children's literature critics," Ellis "writes without condescension or pedantry. . . . Her prose is a delight: plain, witty, practical, wise."
Ellis was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1952, the youngest of three children in her family. As she once noted, "[My] joy in embroidering the truth probably comes from my own childhood. My father was a rich mine of anecdotes and jokes. He knew more variations on the 'once there were three men in a rowboat' joke than anyone I've encountered since.
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