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Jim Ugly (2003)

by Sid Fleischman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
459439,091 (3.46)5
The adventures of twelve-year-old Jake and Jim Ugly, his father's part-mongrel, part-wolf dog, as they travel through the Old West trying to find out what really happened to Jake's actor father.



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Showing 4 of 4
Eh. Mildly interesting story, with a huge helping of coincidences to make it happen. The boy-and-his-dog bits aren't bad, but Jim Ugly provides some of the coincidences - magic tracking nose can find anyone anywhere. And the villain (at least, the visible one) is amazingly stupid - if he'd changed his pants he'd probably have had better luck following people around. Highly convoluted plot that doesn't make a lot of sense...the ending is amusing, though. Not bad, not great, worth reading once. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jun 12, 2020 |
When a rumour is circulated that Jake's dog is a sheepkiller, the boy decides to turn the beast loose. But when Jim Ugly follows his nose past Jake's father's grave, Jake begins to wonder if his father really is gone and the pair begins an adventure to find him. Along the way, they meet plenty of strange people, a retired military man gone bounty hunter, a pretentious actress and a suspicious manager, all of whom had distinct interest in the man. Traveling from the middle of nowhere and into a big city, Jake must sort out directions and people and follow his dog in hopes of finding his father.

Not my best blurb, I know, but cut me some slack. I'm not that good at it anyway.

This really won't be my best review ever, either, since I have kind of been stewing over what to do with it for several days now. Jim Ugly is one of my long-standing favorites. I've been reading it at least once a year [more, depending how miserable I feel and whether or not I need a comfort read at the time] since probably third or fourth grade--whenever I originally discovered it. It is, to this day, officially the only book I have had to rebuy because I read the cover off. Not because I'm abusive to books--on the contrary, I love and care for my books--but rather because it was second hand in the first and couldn't stand seven years of being read, reread, carried and shelved. Sigh.

I have a new copy now, so no worries, right? Right.

It's still kind of sad.

But I have to admit something as I review it. It's very simple. The writing is straightforward and the characters are very obvious. Neither of these traits are stated in a perjorative [spelling?] way. They just are. As I read it this last time, I tried to look at it with new eyes, with educated eyes, with something other than I have for the past decade or so, but I cannot. I want to say something smart and useful, but the best I can do is that Jim Ugly isn't a literary masterpiece.

So what?

In the end, I'll just say this. Jim Ugly is a simple story about a boy and a dog who go on an adventure to find his father. There are no battles, no princesses...just a boy. And his dog. And their adventure. ( )
  LeslitGS | Mar 8, 2010 |

PBS book

I give this a Good+ ...although it is close to a VG rating there is a bit of curling to the bottom right corner and slight edge wear from shelf storage. Tanned pages as it is older..printed 1993.

  Shep | Jun 20, 2008 |
Book Links, March 2007, page 49:

"In this suspenseful send-up of a western melodrama, jake and Jim Ugly, a wolflike dog form an alliance and travel from blowfly, Nevada, to San Francisco in search of the truth about Jake's dad's disappearance."
  readingtodogs | Sep 5, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sid Fleischmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Smith, Jos. A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The adventures of twelve-year-old Jake and Jim Ugly, his father's part-mongrel, part-wolf dog, as they travel through the Old West trying to find out what really happened to Jake's actor father.

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