Reviews for Calamity Jack


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #1
"The stars of the graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge (2008) move from the Old West to the big city, and this time the spotlight shines on Jack. After his success during his time on the run with Rapunzel, Jack returns to the city determined to prove to his mother (and to Rapunzel) that he is not the scheming delinquent she believes him to be. Instead, he finds the city controlled by an evil giant and under attack by a mysterious enemy. Jack must come up with his best scheme yet to defeat the enemy, save the city, and prove his worth to the women he cares about most. The urban setting suits this retelling of the familiar beanstalk tale; Nathan Hale's art gives it a steampunk twist, and the addition of fairy-tale creatures like giants and pixies is natural and convincing. Shannon and Dean Hale have done an excellent job stretching the bones of the traditional fable into a high-action coming-of-age story that will keep young teen readers excited and engaged." Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
In this companion to Rapunzel's Revenge, the swashbuckling plot shines in the graphic-novel format, with frequent wordless stretches showing adrenaline-fueled action sequences, while the panel arrangement, shifts in perspective, and sound effects drive the story forward as inexorably as a steam engine. This steampunk-flavored fairy tale will appeal to boy-, girl-, reluctant- and eager readers alike. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #2
This companion to the team's previous well-received graphic novel, Rapunzel's Revenge (rev. 11/08), begins with Jack's trickster infancy and beanstalk-climbing escapade, a familiar story made new in the turn-of-the-century, pixie/giant/gargoyle/brownie-populated setting. Heading West, on the run from the law, Jack becomes embroiled in the events of the previous book, after which, determined to become an honest man, he brings Rapunzel back East to show off city life and make up with his momma, who despairs of his criminal ways. Instead, he finds the city under attack by ant people; the city's brutish defender giants profiting from the destruction; and his mother held hostage to bake the giants' bread. With the help of a handsome, smooth-talking inventor/newspaper man who -- unfortunately for Jack -- finds Rapunzel quite fetching, Jack and Rapunzel set out to defeat the ant people, expose the giants' evil scheme, and rescue Jack's mother. The swashbuckling plot shines in the graphic-novel format, with frequent wordless stretches showing adrenaline-fueled action sequences, while the panel arrangement, shifts in perspective, and sound effects ("KROM -- OOOF -- KRAK -- WHACK") give structure to the picture narrative and drive the story forward as inexorably as a steam engine. Similarly, the romantic contretemps are lightly handled in the characters' wisecracking dialogue and transparent expressions, drawn with comic assurance by Nathan Hale. Easily as strong as the first entry, this steampunk-flavored fairy tale will appeal to boy-, girl-, reluctant- and eager readers alike. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 December #1
Jack (of Beanstalk fame) is back in this companion to Rapunzel's Revenge (2008). Moving away from the Wild West that Rapunzel called home, the Hales make readers privy to Jack's point of view, giving them a glimpse of his life back in the city. After a little mishap with a burgeoning bean, Jack must set things right in urban Shyport and rescue his mother from a menacing giant named Blunderboar. With braid-whipping Rapunzel at his side, he sets out to take care of this business, although he is fearful that she will learn about his previous life and his less-than-legal indiscretions. When another potential beau joins the mix, Jack must confront his past if he wants to include Rapunzel in his future. Populated with ant people, giants, pixies and even a Jabberwock, this fantastic yarn has something for everyone. Rapunzel's fans should not fear: This volume, though told from a male perspective, has all the pluck and verve of its predecessor. Readers will relish this gleeful mix of fairy tale, adventure and romance. (Graphic fiction. 9 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 January #1

Calamity Jack follows up Rapunzel's Revenge, the 2008 graphic novel that imagined the famous damsel in distress taking matters into her own hands. Children's author Shannon Hale and her husband, Dean, and illustrator Hall offer a charming update of Jack and Beanstalk, set in a world that combines elements of fairy tales, a Gilded Age American city, and the Wild West. Jack is a young huckster until one of his schemes leads him to stumble upon a dastardly plot by the evil giant who lives in a penthouse that towers above Shyport. Teaming again with Rapunzel, and a few other allies, Jack leads readers on adventure trekking through sewers and taking to the sky. The dynamic artwork fits well with Jack and Rapunzel's quick tongues, as they flirt their way through numerous hair-raising situations. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

[Page 49]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 January

Gr 4-9-The Hales follow up Rapunzel's Revenge (Bloomsbury, 2008) with this fast-moving story focusing on Jack. It begins in the city of Shyport with his birth. Even as a child, Jack tends toward scheming, conning, and thievery with various accomplices, including Pru, a hat-fancying pixie. One scheme involving magical beans and the wealthy and corrupt giant Blunderboar goes awry, leaving Jack's tenement and his mother's bakery destroyed. Jack's mother orders him to go, and go he does with a certain goose under his arm. After the events recounted in Rapunzel's Revenge, Jack and Rapunzel head back to Shyport to set things right. They arrive to find that Jack's mother is being held prisoner by Blunderboar, who is virtually running the city. They team up with Pru and Freddie Sparksmith, a young journalist, to save Jack's mom and the day. Nathan Hale's artwork again places the action in a fairy-tale version of the American West, now with the city as backdrop. His character sketches are delightfully expressive, and the book has the same rich palette as the previous story. It should satisfy readers who enjoy adventure, fairy tales, and anyone who loves a rogue. Some fans of Bill Willingham's "Jack of Fables" series (Vertigo) may also enjoy this take on the "Jack" stories for a younger audience.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

[Page 128]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2009 December
In the American city of Shyport, petty thief Jack considers himself a great criminal mastermind. When his mischief goes too far and makes his mother cry, he vows one last job: steal rent money from the thuggish giant Blunderboar in his floating castle. He succeeds in liberating a goose with golden eggs, but after killing a giant and crushing his neighborhood tenement with a huge beanstalk, he flees out for the Wild West. Hopes for a triumphant return with new best pal Rapunzel, last seen in Rapunzel's Revenge (Bloomsbury, 2008/VOYA October 2008) are dashed as they discover Blunderboar's protection racket has placed the entire town under his thumb In the genre of revisionist fairytales, Jack's tales are among the most re-told; however, the Hales provide a truly refreshing and fun version of the rascal. This Jack has American Indian roots and is roguish without the cruel or arrogant undertones sometimes present in other stories. He is charming yet hapless enough to fit nicely into the love triangle formed with returning character Rapunzel and new compatriot Frederick Sparksmith the Third (outspoken newspaper magnate and inventor), and clever enough to save the day. Also, unlike in Rapunzel's single and well-defined traditional story, the Hales have more leeway here with Jack's beanstalk tale, keeping the giants and widowed mother but ditching the cow and adding a more flavorful background better in keeping with the setting. Nathan Hale (no relation) continues to draw in a clear and energetic style equally suited to the steampunk city as to the Wild West. Fans of the previous book will be happy to see this new installment, which should handily garner new fans as well.--Lisa Martincik 4Q 4P M J S G Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.

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