cover image Jim Ugly

Jim Ugly

Sid Fleischman, Marcia Sewall. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10886-1

In this comic, suspense-laden Western adventure, Jake searches for his supposedly dead father, an itinerant actor, with the help of Jim Ugly, his father's wolf-like dog. The hunt takes them from Blowfly, Nev., to San Francisco, with Jim Ugly reluctantly accepting Jake's authority. Their grudging but dogged teamwork helps them fend off a beautiful actress, a money-hungry cousin and a bounty hunter--all seeking out Jake's father and the fortune in diamonds they believe he has. Finding work with a theater company, Jake is reunited with his father on stage. The pursuers give up when Dad returns the diamonds in the craws of hundreds of chickens and the curtain falls on a happy scene, with Jake making peace with Jim and his father marrying the beautiful actress. Fleischman's ( The Whipping Boy ) light, tautly constructed genre piece is like the hair-raising melodramas in which Jake appears: certain to entertain, with all plot lines neatly tied together at the end. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up. (Apr.)