Author Sharon Hart Addy, Illustrated by Wade Zahares
When Jake and Pa find a gold nugget big enough to buy a pet, there aren’t any dogs to be found. And so Jake gets a . . . pig (“four legs, floppy ears, and a tail”), and he names him Dog. Lucky for Pa and Jake, Dog has a nose for finding good fortune. And where luck grows like a cornstalk—tall and golden and strong—Dog and Jake are sure to be found, ready for whatever comes next.
Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 9.9 x 10.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Average Customer Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars
*Starred Review* Jake and his pa are mining for gold, and when they finally find a nugget, some of it goes toward the pet Jake has longed for. Since there are no dogs around, he takes a pig--and names him Dog. One night Dog snuffles out a corn kernel in Pa's pocket left over from farming days, Jake carefully plants and waters the corn until it can be harvested. A troublesome goat becomes a source for milk, and soon Pa and Jake are trading corn fritters for blankets and lanterns. Pa has a habit of calling everything "lucky," but Jake knows that hard work has been a chunk of that luck--and he plans to be lucky again, planting more corn. This solid story is taken to a whole new level by Zahares' amazing artwork. Using pastels in deep and heavy hues, solid shapes, and unusual perspectives, he provides images that roll breathtakingly across the pages. One shows boy, man, and pig cast in velvety purples against a coppery sky. In another, a green goat floats surrealistically. Some of the scenes show the hard work of frontier life, but they are shrouded in colors that give the effort an almost mystic edge. An intriguing mix of old-fashioned storytelling and cutting-edge art. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
This solid story is taken to a whole new level by Zahares's amazing artwork. Using pastels in deep and heavy hues, solid shapes, and unusual perspectives, he provides images that roll breathtakingly across the pages. . . . Some of the scenes show the hard work of frontier life, but they are shrouded in colors that give the effort an almost mystic edge. An intriguing mix of old-fashioned storytelling and cutting-edge art.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
The patterned cadence of the prose befits this folkloric gold-rush yarn. . . . With unusual perspectives and a strong grasp of light and shadow, the stylized spreads take a surrealistic spin that is warmed and animated by soft, sculptured forms that contrast with thick lines and repeated objects. . . . Always mesmerizing. A treasure.
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
Zahares's 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.
The sunny story is told in a deliberately deadpan, unruffled tone, and the thickly applied pastel illustrations with their odd perspectives and deep purple shadows catch the other side of the story, too, clearly showing that Jake and his father live a difficult, impoverished life. . . . This will be a good discussion-starter on the topic of luck, especially because wisdom is on the side of its appealingly down-to-earth child character.
Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children
Title: Lucky Jake
Author: Sharon Hart Addy
Illustrator: Wade Zahares
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Concepts: barter, trade, natural resources, entrepreneurship
Review: Jake and his father had joined countless other prospectors in the west panning for gold. Life was difficult, and Jake yearned for the company of a pet dog while his father dreamed of eating something other than beans. Fortunately their luck turned around when Pa found a good-sized gold nugget. Although the storekeeper had no dog to sell, Jake did wind up with a pet pig that had a nose for sniffing out long-forgotten treasures and ears for hearing unlikely visitors. Little did Jake and Pa know that these traits would start a chain of events that could help them make a living without having to pan for gold.
This appealing book may start off with the simple premise of a child wanting a pet, but the story quickly develops into a clever story loaded with economics concepts that include natural resources, barter, and entrepreneurship. Bold illustrations with unusual lighting and angles further add to Lucky Jake’s unique quality. The gold rush setting can help to spark a lively discussion with children about an important chapter in U.S. history and the challenges that prospectors faced when searching for gold.