|Boy with 17 senses
Author: Grau, Sheila
A retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" on the unusual planet Yipsmix, where every resident has synesthesia, including Jaq, who travels through a wormhole to Earth, where he must rescue a fellow Yipsmixer with the help of a kind Earthling giant.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 186269
Kirkus Reviews (-) (06/15/16)
School Library Journal (07/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (09/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 4–6—In Grau's inventive play on "Jack and the Beanstalk," our hero Jaq lives on a planet where everyone has synesthesia. Food changes flavor depending on what words one hears while eating it, numbers have their own personality, and sounds have color and shape. Initially, the mixed senses combined with the unusual setting might be disorienting for some readers, but the world-building pays off as Grau uses Jaq's story to explore themes of bullying and identity. The narrative follows the classic mold as Jaq tries to save his family's farm, in this version trading his pet freasel for a key and discovering a wormhole to another planet. There's a fun twist when readers learn just who the giants are in this alternative version. Readers will get a kick out of seeing Earth from another perspective. VERDICT Cleverly told, this original take on a classic tale uses an unconventional setting to explore universal emotions. Hand this to fans of whimsical retellings.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2016 This unusual retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is set on a planet where everyone has synesthesia, and Jaq himself says he has seventeen senses. He does not, however, have money, but he lucks into information about a portal to another world. Off he goes to find his fortune, landing on Earth where he learns a bit about human difference and also finds a fortune’s worth of gum, which has untold value on his home planet-if he can manage to take it with him. The outsider look at Earth is amusing, as Jaq experiences French fries for the first time and grapples with a mall. Unfortunately, there are very few likable characters, and the adults are almost all mean, lazy, opportunistic, or negligent. In addition, the tone is uneven, with humor shoved up against pathos, while both grapple for space with references to the folktale. An interesting author’s note explains how Grau grew up with misophonia and wants kids with neurological differences to be able to see themselves in books. While that would be a clearer message without the unwieldy mix of interplanetary travel, gum, talking animals, folklore, and unpleasant grownups, the descriptions of synesthesia (and how it might be understood on a planet where all have it) are compelling and memorable. AS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 10/01/2016 Twelve-year-old Jaq Rollop can taste words. Not only that, but numbers have personalities, and sounds have colors. He’s not strange or different though; he’s just like everyone else who lives on the planet Yipsmix. When Jaq’s family farm is threatened by the town’s richest family (the same family who swindled away his beloved pet and who have a personal vendetta against his grandfather), Jaq finds himself on a journey that will lead him far away from his planet and into a strange land filled with giants, buildings with double golden arches that serve delicious yellow crunchy sticks, and overwhelming colors and sounds—a land called Earth. A modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk with a sci-fi twist, Grau’s novel mixes whimsy and adventure with a tale that uses synesthesia to reframe our understanding of ability. While some secondary characters (particularly those Jaq meets on Earth) would benefit from further characterization, this remixed fairy tale, complete with a happy ending, is at once heart-wrenching, clever, and satisfying. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.