cover image Lucky Jake

Lucky Jake

Sharon Hart Addy, , illus. by Wade Zahares. . Houghton, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-618-47286-4

A ddy's (When Wishes Were Horses ) Gold Rush tale opens as Jake's Pa, panning in a creek with his son, finds a gold nugget. They hurry to town to buy supplies and Jake, longing for a dog, asks the storekeep if he has any to sell; he doesn't, but he does have “a runty pig.” (When Jake asks if pigs make good pets, the clerk responds, “Why not? They got four legs, floppy ears, and a tail.”) Naming his new pet Dog, Jake remarks that he is glad the man had a pig to sell and Pa answers, “That sure was lucky.” Jake heartily agrees: “Yup. Lucky.” The two repeat these refrains as their lucky streak continues. Jake plants some seed corn and it grows despite the fact that Pa hadn't thought it would in their soil. Next, father and son capture a nanny goat that produces milk and they cook corn fritters. The tempting smell attracts other prospectors eager to barter for food, and soon Pa and Jake are running a booming restaurant and goods-trading business. As the two gratefully acknowledge their ongoing good fortune, perceptive readers will recognize their providence has quite a bit to do with gumption, ingenuity and a sense of fairness—and, yup, luck too. Zahares's (Window Music ) contemporary, stylized pastel art features electric hues and playful perspectives, lending a bold contrast to the old-time tenor of the easygoing narrative and creating an unlikely, but lucky, pairing. Ages 4-8. (May)