Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Maddy? Wh... where... Maddy! There you are! What were you doing? What if...?"
"She's fine, Jack. Trust me."
"Who... how did you know my name?"
"Easy. Your sister told me."
"Nice try. Maddie doesn't talk."
"As you say."
Jack's not a fan of the summer holidays. You'd think any kid would be, but for Jack the prospect of looking after his autistic younger sister Maddy every day, whilst his single mother works all hours just to pay the bills, is not his idea of fun. But during a trip to the local flea market, Maddy mysteriously breaks her silence to persuade Jack to swap his mother's car for a packet of seeds.
As you can imagine, his mother is not best impressed, but when Jack and Maddy plant the seeds in the back yard, resulting in a most unusual and not entirely hazard-free garden overnight, well, the summer suddenly seems to come alive with the prospect of adventure. Plus giant, pink pumpkins with huge teeth, mud-flinging plant hands, onion babies running amok, chillies that make you leap a hundred feet in the air, and last but certainly not least, a dragon...
Extremely entertaining take on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk yarn from the creator of the excellent series of ZITA THE SPACEGIRL books. Despite the lack of a volume number, MIGHTY JACK is most definitely going to be a series of books too, rather than a one-off. In fact I don't want to use the words cliff hanger, but oh dear, I just did, didn't I? Probably should be stalk hanger but you get my drift...
Fans of Ben's previous works will definitely enjoy this, and with two strong female characters in the form of sister Maddy and neighbour Lilly, it's clearly aimed at both boys and girls. There's a surprising amount of emotional darkness, peril and mildly sinister activity going on too. Not perhaps Doug GHOSTOPOLIS, BAD ISLAND, CARDBOARD TenNapel levels, but not far off. Perfect for living up an otherwise dull summer holiday, in other words!