Clever Jack Takes the Cake

Clever Jack Takes the Cake


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Take a bite out of this deliciously funny original fairy tale, which received four starred reviews and was named a Best Book of the Year by Booklist, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and the Bank Street College of Education.

What would you do if you were invited to the princess’s tenth birthday party but didn’t have money for a gift? Well, clever Jack decides to bake the princess a cake.

Now he just has to get it to the castle in one piece. What could possibly go wrong?

Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas, creators of the bestselling picture book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, have teamed up again to bring us a modern fairy tale starring a determined boy and a story-loving princess with a good sense of humor. While girls will fall for a story featuring a princess’s birthday party, Jack’s adventures with trolls, bears, and gypsies make this the perfect read for young boys as well—and ideal for storytime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375849794
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/24/2010
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 284,699
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Candace Fleming is the clever author of The Great and Only Barnum, a Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year; The Lincolns, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Ben Franklin’s Almanac and Our Eleanor, both ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Books. Her books also include Imogene’s Last Stand, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, Gabriella’s Song, and the Aesop Elementary School series. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois. You can visit her at

G. Brian Karas is the prolific, versatile, and acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, winner of a Christopher Award; Are You Going to Be Good? by Cari Best, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming, an ALA-ALSC Notable Book; and Home on the Bayou: A Cowboy’s Story, which he also wrote and which received the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. Visit him at

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Clever Jack Takes the Cake 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Rita_Lot More than 1 year ago
Clever Jack is a great tale that intertwines classic folktales and nursery rhymes to tell the story of a young boy on a quest to deliver the best birthday present to the fair princess. A great story that can be used in a variety of ways. Great for just simple enjoyment through a read aloud. For getting kids thinking about the text, reread the classics versions. The illustrations help describe the setting, help set the tone and capture the story perfectly.
sherri78 More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 5.5 year old nephew for Christmas, I did not read it but my daughter that is the same age wanted to keep it, and the pictures in it make me want to. I think he is going to love it.
SJKessel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fleming, C. & Karas, G.B. (2010). Clever Jack Takes the Cake. New York: Random House.Appetizer: Jack, along with all the other children in the kingdom, has been invited to the princess's tenth birthday party. Since he doesn't have any riches to offer as a gift, he decides to bake the princess a cake. But on the way to the castle, Jack encounters some trouble. So much trouble that he can't be certain he'll arrive with the cake in hand or even arrive at all.At the beginning of the story, Jack goes through a very complicated process to bake a cake. He has to gather all of the ingredients from many different sources and then do the actual cooking. I got exhausted just reading about the process. (Side note--Even despite my exhaustion, I was pretty excited to see a male character do all of the baking. Cool points!)Despite having read a pretty good review or two, I almost didn't read Clever Jack though. I opened the books and discovered there were a lot of words to a page: Words. And words. And words.WORDS.I know that a person in her mid-twenties, who is a PhD candidate focusing on literature shouldn't look at a page in a picturebook like that and be freaked about by, what? 150-ish words? But I was.Either way, I didn't know if had the attention span for this.So, I skipped ahead to the ending and discovered that one of the morals was "Yayz stories!" so I decided to tough it out and behave adult-ish and read all the words.I was glad I did. Clever Jack has an old-school, folklore-ish, Brothers Grimm-y feel, but without any of the blood, mutilation or death.I didn't make the connection as I was reading either book, but now, thinking back, I'd totally do a book pair between Clever Jack and Lois Lowry's The Birthday Ball. Both involve bored princesses who invite peasants to birthday parties, but from very different perspectives. Both are good fun!Dinner Conversation: "One summer morning long ago, a poor boy named Jack found an invitation slipped beneath his cottage door. It read:His Majesty the King cordially invites all of the children of the realm to the Princess's Tenth Birthday Party tomorrow afternoon in the Castle Courtyard.""The boy thought for a moment. "Then I will make her something," he declared. "I will make her a cake.""From what?" asked his mother. "From the dust in the cupboard? From the dirt on the floor?""I have a better idea," said Jack.""I'm taking this cake to the princess.""Aw-caw-caw-caw-caw!" cackled the birds.And as quickly as they had come, they were gone, taking with them the walnuts that spelled "Happy Birthday, Princess."Tasty Rating: !!!
kloupe1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book really gave me a warm feeling. I was feeling so bad for Jack and hoping and hoping he would make it to that party. And he did, and although he had nothing physical, he had the best gift she ever received, an adventurous story. The rubies and tiaras in the world could not top Jack's gift of storytelling. This book can teach children about the simple things in life and the power, fun and gifts in storytelling. I would definitely use this book to teach a lesson about storytelling.
Kate_Narita More than 1 year ago
This book is a new classic, and it should be an integral part of every fairy tale unit.