Caldecott Award-winner Simms Taback infuses this favorite children's rhyme with his distinctive, creative flair and humor. His Jack builds a house like no other and fills it with cheeses from all nations, which of course attracts the rat that stirs up the cat. Taback takes the usual cast of characters in this classic cumulative rhyme and presents each in a funny new light that will keep readers laughing. His addition at the end neatly fits an appropriate character into Jack's story and makes his telling even more unique.
"PreS-Gr. 2. With his familiar mixed-media collage, Taback raises the roof on this familiar cumulative rhyme. Clever touches abound inside and out, beginning with endpapers that display a series of houses with newspaper "for sale" ads, and the back of the jacket is decorated with pictures of tool ads and sale prices. Added to the usual cast (rat, cat, cow, dog, maiden, tattered man, and judge) is a surprise guest, "the artist who first had drawn a picture of the farmer planting his corn," whose appearance brings the rhyme full circle. Each new addition to the cast is pictured against an intensely colored background on a left-hand page as black-and-white backdrops on right-hand pages help dramatize the frenzied action. The spreads are filled to the edges with boldly colored images, text refrain, and visual jokes. There hasn't been a lively telling of this tale in years, and Taback puts a new house on the market and hits the nail on the head with this boisterous, rollicking version. An author's note establishes origin of the rhyme as an ancient Hebrew chant; it was first illustrated by Randolph Caldecott in 1878. Julie Cummins."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Caldecott Medalist Taback (Joseph Had a Little Overcoat) offers a spirited interpretation of this cumulative rhyme. From the very start as endpapers reveal a variety of pencil-drawn houses with yellowing real estate ads as captions the artist fills these busy pages with abundant details and diversions. The first spread introduces Jack's home on the left, with the text on the right, and the word "house" in eye-popping collage type. Ancillary images and asides accompany the vividly hued mixed-media illustrations and hand-lettered text that introduce the invading characters. On the spread announcing the cheese, for example, Taback reveals nine varieties (one of which "lay in the house that Jack built") and ranks them according to their pungency ("Not so smelly"; "Really stinky"). Superimposed on the image of "the cow with the crumpled horn" are labels indicating its parts (tail, hoof, udder) as well as the anatomical sources of some kid-pleasing delicacies (meatballs, Big Mac, etc.). As previous characters move to the right of each spread, they (and the growing text) begin to crowd out the house itself. Taback slips himself into the tale at its end (wearing a beret bearing the words "Guess who?"), applying the finishing touches to a picture that gathers the entire cast of characters. A zany and fun take on this 18th-century classic. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved