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No, No, Jack!

by Ron Hirsch, Pierre Pratt, illus.

A dog named Jack loves to hide everyday objects in the closet. Then he waits outside the closet until the family members discover the missing object. Author Ron Hirsch combines short, punchy sentences, like “This is Jack,” with a catchy refrain: “No, no, Jack! Take it back!” Much of the story follows a question-and-answer format to identify the missing object.

Several of the questions will baffle preschoolers. When Mommy can’t hang a picture on the wall and the author asks, “What does she need?,” I doubt that two- and three-year-olds will know. The predictable pattern breaks when Jack hides a stray cat and the family decides to keep it. While Hirsch’s text refers to “sounds” coming from the closet, the text does not include “meows” coming from the closed door. Readers would benefit from a textual prompt like this to give listeners a hint of what is inside.

Pierre Pratt, also illustrator of the Very Busy Life of Olaf and Venus series (Candlewick Press), infuses this book with a palette of bold colours, using acrylic paints to create a sophisticated, grainy effect. Behind the flaps, the array of objects may bewilder a young child. The first closet contains a broom, a teddy bear, a bowling ball, a badminton birdie, and a top hat. Children won’t know which of these objects Jack has put in the closet until they’ve heard the story a few times and remember the object Jack hid.

Apart from these trouble spots, the sheer quality of this book’s design, the strong cover, and the sturdy paper will give it good consumer appeal.