cover image Hi, Jack!

Hi, Jack!

Mac Barnett, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Viking, $9.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-593-11379-0

In this promising beginning-reader series opener, Barnett and Pizzoli introduce a mischievous rabbit named Jack, a lady named “the Lady,” and a dog named Rex. In the first of three stories, Jack “comes down from his tree to make a friend,” then steals the Lady’s purse and goes wild with her lipstick (“Bad Jack!... Jack, give her bag back”). “Rex! Why are your lips red? Your lips are bright red!” writes Barnett in the second tale, simultaneously using and poking fun at repetitive early reader language. Given Jack’s lipstick-powered vandalism, readers will guess that the Lady’s house shown in the third tale—“Here are her white walls. Here is her nice art” —won’t stay pristine for long. Barnett works wonders with a limited vocabulary, packing the stories with humor, tension—and admonishments of Jack. Pizzoli’s scruffy-edged, emotive cartoons are just as funny, and he carries the comedy into drawing lessons and closing endpapers. Yep, more lipstick is involved. Available simultaneously: Jack Blasts Off! Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.) [em]Note: A previous review of this title ran in PW in December 2017; the book was subsequently pulled and retooled. [/em]