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Reviewed by Kristine Hall for Readers' Favorite
In Thomas Key Maddox's picture book, Jack the Puddle Jumper, readers are introduced to the peaceful town of Pockinshook, where rebellious young Jack bucks the rules by doing what he loves the most: jumping in puddles. Much to the chagrin of the townspeople, Jack isn't like the other children who are quiet, calm, and neat. No other children join Jack to play, which leaves Jack feeling lonely and discouraged until local scientist, Doctor Calabash, discovers that the town is in dire environmental danger and that Jack just might have the answer to saving it. Will the townspeople believe Doctor Calabash and put their faith in Jack?
This is a terrific story and what is equally impressive is that author Thomas Key Maddox was just ten years old when he penned it. Jack the Puddle Jumper is a fun and imaginative story, written at a level well beyond Maddox's ten years. There is plenty of scientific terminology thrown in, the meanings of which readers will hopefully be encouraged to investigate (and perhaps discover that it is force, not velocity, which equals mass times acceleration). Truly, the book could be used in a science class as a springboard for students to come up with their own theories.
The illustrations were colorful and interesting, but they were a little small to see in eBook format and didn't necessarily match up with the text. Nonetheless, the illustrations will be a big attraction to readers since they were made by children from all around the world. A short explanation at the end of the book, telling how Maddox went about getting and choosing the pictures, would be a great addition to future editions. The book's content will challenge and entertain young readers, and it's likely to inspire young readers to write their own stories and make their own illustrations.