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Author: Patterson, James
[#1 in the series] Twelve-year-old Jacky "Ha-Ha" Hart is a class clown with a penchant for pranking--and when she's required to act in the school play to appease her frustrated teachers, she must conquer her stutter.
Jacky Ha-Ha, 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 181886
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 68750
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2016 In 1990, the seven Hart sisters are living under the not-particularly-watchful eye of their hardworking father while their mother, a Marine, is serving in Iraq. Just as school starts, 12-year-old Jacky vows that this year she will rise above her reputation as a class clown and prankster. Nevertheless, she racks up five detentions on the first day and 20 by the week’s end. Her only way out of trouble terrifies Jacky, who stutters: try out for the school play and enter a public speaking competition. Jacky reluctantly joins the play’s cast and the oratorical team. Smart, funny, and immensely likable, Jacky is a colorful narrator and an increasingly interesting character, and her struggles will strike a chord with many readers. The many black-and-white cartoon-style drawings increase the book’s appeal. While the introduction, a letter written years later by Jacky to her daughters, lets readers know in advance that things will turn out OK, it won’t diminish the fun of following this good-hearted but smart-mouthed tomboy through the ups and downs of her seventh-grade year.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Patterson puts out a lot of product, but his middle-grade collaborations with Grabenstein are among his best—and best promoted. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2016 Seventh-grader Jacky Hart (aka Ha-Ha) manages to rack up twenty detentions in the first five days of school with her antics. She doesn’t always crack jokes just to make teachers angry, though; she also uses humor to defend her African-American friend from taunting, make her ailing grandmother laugh, and assure her mother, who’s serving a tour in Iraq during the first Gulf War, that everything is A-OK at home. The assistant principal tries to come up with a way to channel Jacky’s creative talents outside of class—clearly detentions aren’t working—so maybe a place in the school musical and an assignment to the oratorical team will do the trick. Both of these options horrify Jacky, since her humor has always been a cover for her stutter, and performing in public will certainly make that clear. Much like Jamie Grimm from Patterson’s I Funny (BCCB 2/13), Jacky is a genuinely likable and funny protagonist; she’s also believable as a kid who uses jokes as a defense of her stutter but who’s struggling to figure out when that defense becomes hurtful offense (a few of her pranks hit both emotional and physical sore spots in other people). Kerascoët’s black and white illustrations, varying from full spreads to spot art, are full of verve and energy, as cartoonish Jacky careens her way through life. The framing story—the current-day Jackie is writing her daughters a letter on the night of receiving an Academy Award—is a bit cheesy, but it also reminds readers that being labeled trouble as a student doesn’t necessarily translate to trouble in the future. KQG - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.