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Brave Jack and the unicorn by Janet…
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Brave Jack and the unicorn (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Janet McNaughton, Susan Tooke (Illustrator), Terri Nimmo (Cover designer)

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165615,960 (3.81)None
Member:juglicerr
Title:Brave Jack and the unicorn
Authors:Janet McNaughton
Other authors:Susan Tooke (Illustrator), Terri Nimmo (Cover designer)
Info:Toronto : Tundra Books, c2005. [32] p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Fairy tales, Folklore, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Canadian, Illustrated

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Brave Jack and the unicorn by Janet McNaughton (2005)

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Hm. Just didn't work for me as well as for my GR friends. I think I would have appreciated it if it had been actually more original, if it had diverged more from the classic story(s) upon which it's based. Either it's a tale from Newfoundland, or it's not - I kept feeling dissonance. Nor were the pictures quite to my taste, something about the texture, esp. of the skin, didn't suit me. But the progression of the thematic elements, the language, the way it all worked out, were fine. I'm glad I finally got a chance to read this, but relieved I didn't spend money on it. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Inspired by the folklore of Newfoundland, itself a reinvention of various European traditions, author Janet McNaughton spins this original fairy-tale about Jack, the youngest and (seemingly) least of three sons. Kind-hearted and humble, he is dismissed as a fool by his own mother, and by his two older brothers, the eldest of whom (Tom) is very handsome, and the middle one (Bill) of whom is terribly clever. When Tom and Bill depart to seek their fortunes, and never return, it falls to Jack to seek them out, helping many creatures - some ants, a magical apple tree, and old woman by the side of the road, a local farmer - on his journey. His kindness and consideration is amply repaid, however, when he finds that he must perform three impossible tasks, in order to free a princess...

Many of the themes here will be familiar to folklore enthusiasts - the kindnesses shown to strangers (human, animal or arboreal) being rewarded, the three impossible tasks that the hero must perform, even the sorting of the wheat and the sand, with the aid of the ants - and will make Brave Jack and the Unicorn feel like an "old friend," while new elements (the unicorn!) will make it feel original and new. The combination of the two is very winsome, particularly for anyone (like me) who has a weakness for this sort of story. The acrylic illustrations by Susan Tooke are likewise appealing, despite what felt (at the beginning) like an unpromising cover image. I'd actually passed this title by, in a store, because the cover didn't appeal to me, so special thanks to my friend Gundula for reviewing it, and bringing it to my attention once again! It is definitely one that fairy-tale fans should pick up! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 17, 2013 |
An original fairy tale, based on traditional Newfoundland and European folklore traditions, both the story and the illustrations featured in Brave Jack and the Unicorn are engaging and lovingly evocative. As rather a folklore purist, I was (at first) a bit suspicious of this tale, but the author never claims that the story is a traditional folktale, she clearly states that it is, indeed, an original fairy tale, albeit one based on traditional folk themes and tales (which are also acknowledged). Janet McNaughton has really done a wonderful job combining diverse folkloric elements into an exciting and entertaining story, with surprisingly little violence and eeriness. The illustrations by Susan Tooke are also quite magical; they are both colourful and bold, and certainly capture the atmosphere of place, of Newfoundland (I especially enjoyed little touches, like passing icebergs and the harbour dotted with fishing boats).

I only wish that Janet McNaughton had managed to add a more detailed author's note. While she has stated from where, in general, she obtained the traditions and ideas for this story, I would have liked for her to have mentioned any particular tales of which she had made use. However, this is just my scholarly side talking, it does in no way detract from the beauty of the story itself. ( )
1 vote gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
good story as always from mcnaughton. princess actively helps. very detailed pictures. ( )
  mahallett | Mar 5, 2012 |
The genre of this book is fantasy and it is a fictional book. The art in the book looks like it was either hand-drawn or computer generated and colored using oil-paints or oil-pastels. The pictures are very colorful and detailed. The content in this book is about a boy who goes on an adventure to make something of himself. Along the way, he is very generous and in return he gets valueable gifts that are useful when he is fighting for the princess in the end. The reading level of this book is probably fourth grade because there are many words per page and some of the words are challenging for younger kids. The curricular connections are: generosity and giving, bravery, adventure, princess, golden apple, unicorn, whistle and love. ( )
1 vote ceoliver | Mar 11, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janet McNaughtonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tooke, SusanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nimmo, TerriCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my daughter, Elizabeth, and all the children of Newfoundland and Labrador, at home and away.

J. M.
For my princess, my daughter, Beth Crichton, with love.

S. T.
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In a little cove by the sea lived an old widow with three sons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Neither handsome nor clever, Jack – the youngest of three brothers – causes his widowed mother much concern. The family is convinced he is nothing but a fool. When his brothers go off to seek their fortune and don’t return, Jack is sent to find them. Along the way he performs good deeds for helpless creatures, who repay his kindness in magical ways. Hearing of an evil magician who controls the life of the princess, Jack poses as a suitor and faces three tests – but can he find the elusive unicorn and save the princess from her fate?

Acclaimed Newfoundland author Janet McNaughton tells a classic tale of good and evil, accompanied by Susan Tooke’s illuminating paintings, rich with influences from the Middle Ages, Celtic symbolism, and Newfoundland’s breathtaking coastal landscape.
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Jack, the youngest of three brothers, has an adventure while going to find his brothers.

(summary from another edition)

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Tundra Books

An edition of this book was published by Tundra Books.

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