Sally Rippin’s latest series features a little boy named Jack who’s introduced at the start by the mood he’s currently feeling: for instance, jittery (because he wants to try for a solo in the school concert); wobbly (because he’s invited to a party where he doesn’t know anyone other than the host); bouncy (because it’s his first day at soccer practice) and moochy (because he wants to play alone). Fans of Rippin will recognise Jack as the best friend of Billie (who has her own series), and it’s great that he’s here to lure all the reluctant boy readers. The books are simple to read and cleverly pitched to the early primary set, with little life lessons and morals integrated into the stories. Jack learns the importance of teamwork as well as how to handle his jealousy when his friend succeeds. His unruly relatives teach him how to get along with others even when he doesn’t want to socialise. Though desperate to fit in like all kids, he also learns to accept his individuality when wearing a homemade robot costume while everyone else is wearing expensive superhero costumes at a fancydress party. The black-and-white illustrations break up the large-font text.
Thuy On is a Melbourne reviewer and manuscript assessor. This review first appeared in the Summer issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine. The first books in the ‘Hey Jack!’ series include The Winning Goal, The Scary Solo, The Crazy Cousins and The Robot Blues.