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Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Please use this sub-forum to discuss both middle-grade and younger children's books, including picture books, easy readers, and children's chapter books. Topics for books aimed at children 12 and under go in this forum.

Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#1 by ALynnPowers
» 05 Mar 2017, 11:47

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket" by Peter Preston.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by ALynnPowers
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If you’re looking for a book for older children or middle grade readers, Jake and the Man-Eating Picnic Basket by Peter Preston would be a pleasurable read for those who enjoy science fiction novels. Jake and his grandfather both have a love for science. However, while Jake is trying to come up with a hybrid plant that could create healthy alternatives to junk food and end the world’s hunger problems, his quirky grandfather is inventing insane machines (mostly to “cure” Jake of his stutter) that end up causing more harm or embarrassment than contributing to anything useful.

After an accident at Jake’s science fair, local residents begin to go missing. Concerned that his plant growth formula had something to connect the two unlikely events, Jake does some investigating and discovers a sentient, mutant plant-picnic basket that is mind-controlling residents for its own evil schemes. Jake and his family then begin to work together to come up with a way to stop the horrible creature from controlling and destroying their town. For once, his grandfather’s wacky inventions just might come in handy.

This book is great for readers who are too old for children’s books but aren’t quite ready for typical young adult books. I especially like how this book is gender neutral and doesn’t seem to be targeted toward a single gender; girls and boys can equally enjoy this story. It contains a lot of scientific information and isn’t dumbed down for the younger audience. As a teacher, I personally appreciate seeing written works that encourage the growth of language and knowledge, as opposed to using more simplified language and concepts that don’t teach readers anything they don’t already know.

That being said, I did come across several grammatical errors that could have been skimmed over in the editing process. In a book for this target audience, I think it’s especially important to present flawless writing so that readers (who are also potential future writers) can build a good foundation for grammar and writing. I would also like to point out that this book takes place in England and uses a lot of English slang and cultural references that I, as an American, am a little clueless about. I suspect that younger readers would not understand some of these at all. We can always look them up on the internet if we’re curious, but I thought that many readers would appreciate having some kind of “glossary” to explain these references that don’t translate well across dialects and oceans.

There are a lot difficult concepts and plot points presented in the story, and a few times I questioned whether I really understood what was going on. Other times I questioned whether certain characters or elements of the plot were really necessary in the story at all. However, I enjoyed this book as a whole, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable or honest giving it a low rating. With a final rating of 3 out of 4 stars, I recommend this book to young lovers of science fiction who are willing to commit to a challenging read.

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Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#2 by kandscreeley
» 05 Mar 2017, 18:38

This does sound intriguing, but I could see how some of the plots might be difficult. Thanks for a thorough review.
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#3 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 06 Mar 2017, 08:41

This is a fairly hilarious concept. What an imagination! I do guess that the target age would find it hysterical. I hope the author takes your suggestions about editing, etc. Thanks for the review!
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Re: Officialeview: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#4 by Atchamah
» 07 Mar 2017, 17:51

The best book that I have read
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#5 by Elaine5
» 07 Mar 2017, 19:44

Hmmmm...I'm undecided about whether to recommend this to my 10 yr old. I think the grammatical errors are going to prevent me from doing that but I might give it a read myself before I decide. Thanks for your review!
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#6 by perera
» 09 Mar 2017, 00:27

This is a good book for children to read.They can enhance their knowledge and also they can develop their creativity.
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#7 by Shreyoshi Sen
» 11 Mar 2017, 00:37

A very interesting book for science lovers.
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Re: Official Review: Jake and the man-eating Picnic Basket

Post Number:#8 by Eanzy
» 12 Mar 2017, 14:00

when writing a book, slangs and native languages should be interpreted for easier understanding by the readers especially when the book is meant to be used for educational purposes
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