Jack Strong Takes a Stand

Tommy Greenwald, Author, Tom Greenwald, Author, Mendes Melissa, Illustrator, Melissa Mendes, Illustrator
Tommy Greenwald, illus. by Melissa Mendes. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59643-836-1
Reviewed on: 08/12/2013
Release date: 09/24/2013
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-59643-838-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-250-05687-0
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Between school, orchestra, tutoring, karate, and swimming, 12-year-old Jack Strong has a full schedule, designed by his father to ensure he’ll get into a good college. But after a week when Jack is stuck in Chinese class while the ice cream store gives away sundaes, must attend a cello recital instead of a party, and can’t celebrate his own game-winning hit with the baseball team because he’s due at tennis, Jack shuts down. Like Bartleby the Scrivener, he refuses to budge, intent to sit on the couch until he is allowed to reduce his workload. The school newspaper gets wind of his strike and spreads word about one boy’s heroic opposition to overprogramming. Greenwald (the Charlie Joe Jackson series) has a good eye for authentic details that breathe life into characters: Jack’s mother “watched about one pitch per game, the rest of the time she was yakking,” while his father videotapes every at-bat. In the end, common sense prevails, and a family emergency makes Jack realize his EMT training is not such a bad idea. Mendes contributes humorous b&w spot illustrations. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
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