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Jake by Audrey Couloumbis
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Showing 5 of 5
Enjoyable family story though a bit predictable. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Loved this story. Jake's relationship with his grandfather unfolded just like I hoped it would. It was a terrific book to read and I think a lot of my students will connect to it. ( )
  lebrun727 | Apr 20, 2012 |
I picked this title up because I fell so completely in love with Audrey Couloumbis' Lexie, the first book of hers I had read (gushing review coming soon). I read this one in a similar giant gulp, but wasn't quite as satisfied with it afterwards.

Jake is ten and it's almost Christmas. He's pretty satisfied with life, his only regret being the realization that his mom is probably never going to allow him to get a bike after his dad's death in an accident many years ago. But then Jake's mom slips on the ice and has to go the hospital and suddenly Jake is stuck with the gruff grandfather he's never met.

There are a lot of things to like about this story - the gradual cooperation and understanding of Jake and his grandfather, as they both learn things about each other and figure out how to compromise and get along. Jake's worries about his mom are in a perfect child's voice and his awkward attempts to interact with his grandfather are spot on. I guess what really bothered me about this story was the seemingly perfect relationship between Jake and his mom. They have all sorts of rituals and traditions, and Jake often takes the responsible role when his mom gets caught up in her work or a daydream. It just seemed a little too sugary sweet. At one point, Jake insists that he's not a "mama's boy" but that's pretty much exactly what he is. He doesn't seem to interact with any adult males - or many males at all, apart from one friend his own age. All the adults in his life are women; exciting, adventurous, unique, independent women, but all definitely female. Maybe this is part of the point of the story, showing how a boy in a predominantly female environment reacts to the sudden incursion of an older male, especially one with a military background who at first seems like he might not approve of Jake's interests and abilities. But I still would have liked to see Jake argue with his mom. I have never met a ten year old boy (or girl for that matter), with or without a single mother, who didn't occasionally argue with his mom. I guess Jake seems a little too saintly to be true.

Verdict: Although I had trouble seeing Jake as a believable character, I think that's something only an adult would notice. Kids who like realistic stories with interesting characters and some tension in the plot will probably gobble this one up.

ISBN: 9780375856303; Published September 28, 2010; Borrowed from the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | May 2, 2011 |
Since Jake's father died in an accident, it has been Jake and his mom against the world. When Jake's mom has an accident, requiring her to have surgery and stay in the hospital for several days, Jake's Granddad comes to stay with Jake. Jake decides that 10 is a turning point in your life where you start seeing things and people differently. This is a wonderful story of a boy discovering his identity when the world he was so comfortable in is turned upside-down. It is as touching and heartfelt as it is humorous and entertaining. As real-life fiction, there are many, many kids with single-parent households, with no other family. This story shows how a family can be more than just a mom, a dad, and kids. Jake's ability to look at his world objectively and see the positive is something we hope all kids his age are able to do. Grade 3 – 5. ( )
  bclanphere | Mar 29, 2011 |
When ten-year-old Jake's widowed mother breaks her leg just before Christmas while her sister and best friend are both away, a grandfather Jake barely remembers must come to Baltimore, Maryland, to help a neighbor take care of him.
  prkcs | Dec 16, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375856315, Paperback)

"I'm old enough to stay home alone, you know."

Mom said, "Not a chance. Who's going to lug the loot ba—" and the locks on the door sprung open. I opened the door and unloaded the cart. It took five minutes, probably less.

"Mom?" I said, looking around when I'd finished. I didn't see her. "Mom?" I yelled. "Mom?"


It's a few days before Christmas when 10-year-old Jake's mom slips and breaks her leg. For as long as Jake can remember, it's just been him and his mom, so with no one else to look after him the hospital contacts the gruff granddad Jake only knows through awkward twice-a-year phone calls. When grandad shows up, he's nothing like Jake expected. But as Jake gets to know his grandfather and a makeshift family of friends and neighbors come together around him and his mom, he realizes that this might not be such a bad Christmas after all.

With beautiful spare writing that will appeal to fans of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Higher Power of Lucky, Newbery Honor—winning author Audrey Couloumbis tells a story as warm and welcome as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day and shows that the best gift of all is the gift of family.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When ten-year-old Jake's widowed mother breaks her leg just before Christmas while her sister and best friend are both away, a grandfather Jake barely remembers must come to Baltimore, Maryland, to help a neighbor take care of him.

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