Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, a Troll, and a Rather Large Chicken by Jenn Kelly is a whimsical adventure tale in the same vein as Alice in Wonderland. In it, youngster Jackson Jones is magically transported to an alternate reality, where nothing is as it seems. Throughout his journey, Jackson learns valuable lessons about friendship and true happiness.
As the title implies, the story is a goofy, lighthearted affair. A healthy dose of jokes and witty bantering is sprinkled throughout the dialogue, and conversation never comes across as overly mean-spirited. Many scenes, such as the one in which Jackson flees from exactly 3,486 squirrels, are sure to draw smiles from readers of all ages.
The story begins when Jackson is given the mundane task of cleaning the family pool. Irritated, Jackson begrudgingly goes to work, but he suddenly is swept away by a ferocious wind! When he lands, Jackson finds himself in a place unlike any other he has ever been in. Full of gigantic tree houses, oversized chickens, angry squirrels, and a grumpy troll, this terrible land makes Jackson unexpectedly long for the familiar confines of his home. Jackson embarks on an adventure, hoping to find his way back to where he belongs. Along the way he encounters puzzles and tests, makes new friends, and learns that true joy comes from within individuals.
Kelly does an accurate job of portraying Jackson as an average young person. His emotions and thoughts mirror those of many adolescents, and a wide range of readers will be able to relate to his character. Other characters in the book tend to have more commanding attributes, from the grumpiness of Stimple the troll to the self-righteous piety of Miss Flaversham the chicken. Each character represents a different personality extreme, and the contrasts generally work well.
All in all, Jackson Jones makes for a fun, upbeat story. Although the book's recycled jokes become a little stale toward the end, Jackson Jones holds definite appeal for younger audiences. Ė Daniel Wenger, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
You never know just where your story will take you. All Jackson had to do was clean the pool. Just that one simple task. It would have been simple, anyway, if that freak storm hadnít come and carried him away. Now Jackson is trapped in the branches of a massive tree and he canít seem to find a way out. While he wanders, he meets a flesh-eating hound named Muffy, a hen who wears too much makeup, a million angry squirrels, and a troll with nose hair down to there. Before Jackson can go home, heíll have to discover the great task the Author has planned for him and learn what it really means to put down roots.