Friday, April 25, 2014

Jack the Castaway - a book review

Hi!  Glad you dropped by today for a visit with me.  The answer to yesterday's quote is:
                                "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl.

Today's quote for you to try and figure out is:

                                                         "The primroses were over. "

                            Do you know the book title and who authored it?  Fun to find out.

Title"  Jack The Castaway
Author:  Lisa Doan
Illustrator:  Ivica Stenanovic
Ages:  8-12

What others are saying about the book

School Library Journal:

"The story is a well-written debut novel and an introduction to a fun cast of characters and a series certain to be full of adventure. Pencil illustrations bring life to Jack and all of the craziness he and his family experience. This will likely entertain even the most reluctant of readers." 


"In Doan’s entertaining debut, Jack’s misadventures begin once his absentee parents show up and whisk him off to the Caribbean. A sensible 11-year-old, Jack would much rather stay in Pennsylvania than risk his life on one of his parents’ dangerous get-rich-quick schemes." 

Publisher's Weekly:

"Launching the Berenson Schemes series, Doan’s debut novel pits cautious Jack Berenson against his reckless parents with uproarious results." 

Children's Literature:

"Doan’s initial offing in “The Berenson Schemes” series is a fun romp through the ‘rustic’ Caribbean. This installment will hold the interest of most readers and is a terrific choice for book reports as well as leisure reading." 


"Readers will be charmed by Jack, whose flair for checklists and self-preservation is both humorous and endearing." 

Brent Hartinger, author of The Geography Club:

"Jack takes life seriously -- sometimes too seriously. His parents don't take life seriously at all. The result is Lisa Doan's very fun and funny comedy of errors, JACK THE CASTAWAY. 

Margaret Nevinski, author of The Eve of St. Agnes and Floating:

"If you want to laugh until your sides hurt, rush out and find a copy of Jack the Castaway by Lisa Doan."

My two cents worth for you:

Jack is a very responsible, sensible, eleven year old who lives with his Aunt Julia, until she passes away by getting hit by a bus.  His biological parents are irresponsible, scattered globe-trotters who are coming back to claim him and try to integrate him into their care-free lifestyle.  You see his parents have been chased out of Tokyo, gone broke in Greece, and hosted Nairobi's lease successful safari.  But do not fret they have a brand new get-rich scheme which means moving to the Caribbean and inventing a new sport called "drift snorkelling" that the tourists will be enamoured by and they want Jack to join them in their newest escapade.  Jack hesitantly goes with them because he knows exactly what they are like and fears for his educational future and his very life.  Once in the Caribbean he is put in charge of driving the boat (which he knows nothing about) and sadly becomes the brunt of his parent's negligence because they forget to fill the gas tank of the boat with fuel. Jack is stranded and drifts away in the Caribbean Sea only to land on a deserted island.  He is not alone because Loco, a parrot keeps him company with a very limited vocabulary, and together they have to learn how to survive and ultimately how to get back to civilization with very little help from his parents.  

Jack takes life very seriously and through planning and check-lists and foresight discovers he has the gift of self-preservation despite the lack of any common sense his parents may or may not possess.  Luckily they become a much stronger family unit when Jack passes his knowledge and wisdom onto his parents who receive it graciously from their son. 

Doan's debut novel is well written and entertaining. The Berenson's Schemes series will be a great one to watch unfold and I am sure will be an amazing hit with the kids ages 8-12.  The pencil illustrations are just brilliant and are a great asset to the printed text.  I highly recommend this book and am sure the following books in the series will be equally as great. 

About the author:

Lisa Doan received a master'[s degree in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As a professional vagabond, she has traveled extensively through Africa and Asia and lived on a Caribbean island for eight years. Her variety of professions have included Master Scuba Diving Instructor, New York City headhunter, Owner/Chef of a Chinese restaurant, television show Set Medic and Deputy Prothonotary of a county court. She wrote her first book during a Caribbean slow season while waiting for restaurant customers. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with a Great Dane who stares her down for biscuits.

About the illustrator:

Ivica Stevanovic(1977) is illustrator, comic artist and graphic designer. He has published more than a thousand illustrations in schoolbooks and picture books. Ivica draws comics, and his specialty is graphic novels. His best-known graphic novel is Kindly Corpses. He works as a professor at the Art Academy in Novi Sad (Serbia), the Department of Graphic communication. He teaches two subjects – Graphic books and Comics. To see more Ivica's work go to

More of his illustrations although not from this book:

Book Review Rating:  8  (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!  Have an fantastic day everyone!

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