Review Blog

Oct 14 2014

Stuff Happens: Jack by Tony Wilson

cover image

Penguin, 2014. ISBN: 9780143308225
Having forgotten to keep a ball on the oval to play with at recess time, Jack invents the game 'You Play, You Pay'. Despite the fact the school rules have banned games involving tackling; it somehow creeps into the rules for Jack's new game. When Fadi tackles Jack, he accidentally breaks his friend's arm! Knowing they had disobeyed the rules, the boys fabricate a story explaining how the accident has occurred. This in turn leads to severe punishment for Fadi and Jack being unable to try out for the Vipers soccer team. Gradually, guilt overcomes Jack and he decides to tell the truth about what has happened. Will the punishment be greater or will matters somehow be resolved to suit everyone?
Based on every day events, easily recognisable to most children, presented in a large, double spaced type face, this story should prove to be accessible to most boys from about year four and above. Containing vocabulary that is simple and written in everyday language used by kids, even less capable students may be engaged by this book. Written in the first person in Jack's voice and with themes of school, friends, truth versus lies, loyalty and soccer, it would probably hold more appeal to boys than girls.
Jo Schenkel

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