This clever twisted tale of Jack and his magic beans is a fun adventure story for middle school kids.
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Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Genre: Fantasy and Folklore; Adventure; Graphic Novel
Length: 208 pages
First Published: 2016
Jack might be the only kid in the world who’s dreading summer. But he’s got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s boring, too, because Maddy doesn’t talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk―to tell Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. It’s the best mistake Jack has ever made.
In Mighty Jack, what starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.
This twist on the classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, makes for a fantastic adventure. Jack, Maddie (his sister), and Lily form a delightful trio and their magical garden adventures are a ton of fun. The artwork is bright and imaginative and the author uses graphic novel panels in creative ways.
The Mighty Jack series is considered a Young Adult graphic novel, so parents should consider the content before allowing younger children to read this adventure (there is a brief kiss and some language).
Note: Mighty Jack is book 1 of 3 books in the series, which concludes with a Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl joint adventure. You’ll definitely want to finish reading the series.
Mighty Jack Book Club Ideas
Decorate using green paper products and a green tablecloth. Bring any of your house plants into the meeting area for decoration as well.
Eat flower cookies as a snack during your book discussion. Have a bean salad or another favorite bean recipe.
Paint a flower pot and plant a seed in the soil.
Book Club Discussion Questions
Be sure to grab this set of questions specifically designed to facilitate discussion about the format and artwork of the graphic novel:
About the Author: Ben Hatke
Ben Hatke describes himself as a “writer, artist, author of graphic novels and other kinds of books -most notably the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy and the picture book Julia’s House for Lost Creatures.” You can find him on his website.
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