Hello, friends! We’re back today with a review of A Kid For Jack: A True Story, written and illustrated by the Fourth Grade Students of Piney Grove Elementary in Kernersville, NC. This was one of the books created through Scholastic’s Kids Are Authors contest program, and tells the true story of a stray dog finding his forever home.
Jack is a stray, but he dreams of a better life. He hopes someday to have a home, and a kid of his own to give him tummy rubs. One day, Jack is hit by a car, sparking a series of events that will change his life. He is taken to a vet who takes care for him and, from there, taken to a prison and enrolled in the New Leash On Life program, where an inmate gives Jack obedience training. After he finishes the program and his hurts have healed, he’s taken to a festival to find potential families, but the big dog with a limp is not what most are looking for. However, there is one little girl who takes a shine to him, and leaves him hoping: could this be the kid that Jack has been waiting for?
This is a fantastic stray pup story, made all the better by that fact that it’s true. Told in (quite literally) a child’s voice, Jack’s story is one of hope, love, and how a small act of kindness in an animal’s life can make an enormous difference. Interestingly, it also exposes young readers to a view of prison inmates that is incredibly rare in children’s books, that of benevolent characters who are helpful and caring towards Jack. It’s quite a surprise, and could be very helpful in starting a discussion about how some people in prisons just want to turn their lives, like Jack’s, around. The art is wonderfully sweet: clearly some young people creating the scenes with their imaginations and, taking that into consideration, pretty darn good. The length is fine, edging on long for the littlest readers, but JJ enjoys this one whenever we read it. A wonderful book made by kids for kids, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!