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Jacobson, Jennifer Richard.
Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2011
IL 5-8, RL 6.3
ISBN 0763641553

(2 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Imagine you’re 11 years old.  You’ve had a long car ride with your mother to a Maine camp ground and during the trip the two of you argue over a stop at a wild animal park to see an elephant.  Now imagine you wake up the next day at the campground to find your mother, her car and all the camping gear gone. This is the situation Jack Martel finds himself in.   He figures she’s probably just moved all their stuff to another campsite, so he sets out to enjoy himself…alone.  But as time goes by and despite his efforts to contact his mom, there’s still no sign of her, and Jack grows increasingly afraid other campers will discover he’s been abandoned.  He finds some comfort in a small, plastic elephant he has in his possession; it’s a reminder of a trip with his mother to the circus when he was four.   Jack’s mother has a history of mental illness while Jack has an obsession with elephants.  He loves his mother, in spite of her erratic behavior.  When Jack realizes he won’t be able to find his mother, he decides to return to his home in Boston, and in need of food and shelter starts to make his way south.  (Booktalk written by Suzanne Wall-GSF Committee/Merrimack Public Library)

Booktalk #2

Jack Martel has looked forward all year to his camping trip with his mother to Acadia National Park in Maine.  But the first morning, Jack wakes up to find his mother and all their camping gear except the tent and his sleeping bag gone.  He tries her cell phone but she doesn’t answer.  Jack thinks that maybe she left because they’d had an argument on the drive up about his obsession with elephants and whether or not to stop and see Lydia, Maine’s only living elephant, at a wild life park.  At first, Jack doesn’t panic.  After all, he’s used to his his mother’s erratic, unpredictable behavior, what his calls her “spinning” times, and has to fend for himself before for short periods.   But soon, he’s used up his $14 on food, he ruins his cell phone, and his sleeping bag and extra clothing are stolen.  That is when Jack devises a plan to get back home to Boston before the authorities catch on and put him in a foster home or, even worse, send him to live with his grandmother whom his mother as always warned him against, on his own.  So, with no money, Jack takes off, sleeping in churches and the backs of pickups, stealing vegetables from gardens, and avoiding curious adults.  He also steals a small elephant figurine which becomes his travel companion and a sort of talisman.  But when Jack decides to veer off his journey to see Lydia, his plan falls apart as he realizes that his part of a herd after all.  
(Booktalk by the Sequoya Youth Book Award committee, 2014)

SUBJECTS:     Abandoned children -- Fiction.
                        Mothers and sons -- Fiction.
                        Self-reliance -- Fiction.
                        Adventure and adventurers -- Fiction.
                        Survival -- Fiction.
                        New England -- Fiction.

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