Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hit the Road, Jack

Hit the Road, Jack
Written by Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald
Abrams Books for Young Readers, c2012. Unpaged picture book.

Hit the Road, Jack was inspired by the journey of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Here, Jack is a rabbit who crosses the country by foot, train, and car. The picture book captures the spirit of the road and the adventures that await. Rabbit Jack takes the same journey as in On the Road, from Pennsylvania to San Francisco. While Jack travels from the rolling farmlands to the big city, the illustrations and words perfectly partner to describe his surroundings. "Gaze up at glass and steel- but yo-/ There's lots more landscape yet./ The road's still calling 'Jack Jack Jack,'/ And so you gotta get." The rhyming words and 60's jargon give the feeling of Jack bouncing from place to place. Overall, this is a much more family-friendly version of Kerouac's masterpiece, yet it doesn't lose any of the flavor and verve of the original. Burleigh's "Who Was Jack" excerpt at the end offers a nice background story about the real Jack. I would love to see this as a Caldecott contender!

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