Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke // A Touching Comical Adventure

Monday, 5 September 2016
Mighty Jack, by Ben Hatke
Publication: September 6, 2016, by First Second
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Comic
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.
What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.

My Thoughts:

Ben Hatke's Mighty Jack is one of the first comics I have read in a loooooong time. Did I mention a "loooooong time?" Really long. And I must say, that I am so impressed with the quality of the story, Hatke's artwork, and the mark that it has left on me as a reader. Every future reader will fall in love with Hatke's lovely batch of characters who illustrate teamwork, pride and kindness throughout the whole story: Jack, Maddy, his sister, and Lily, his neighbour. I began enjoying this from the first page, where we are introduced to Jack and his family, and especially, their struggles. Hatke importantly stems out a message towards all of his readers, young and old, stating that children even have to deal with struggles and that their lifestyles are not always (and only) about playing and making up things with their imaginations. Jack and his sister, Maddy, spent the whole duration of this graphic novel struggling with themselves (Jack with his freedom and Maddy with finding her voice) and as well as their family's personal issues. I felt so bad for these kids, but them having to deal with these things outside of the seeds and plants made this even more believable.

I expected this to be a retelling of the famous tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. There surely are elements that could be pointed out as similar between the two, like the seeds and plants, but much of the two are completely different. One's modern (this) and the other is taken place in a time far away. The idea of these kids trying to change their lives after naïvely listening to a man at the flea market is absolutely sad, but makes the book even more compelling. I adored reading about their adventures and the numerous plants that they grew in Jack and Maddy's garden. It shows that kids can be busy and imaginative without using technology in their daily lives! *cheers*

I (literally) flew through this book. I believe that it took me less than half an hour to complete. This is a perfect book to quickly enjoy, and one that will boost your Goodreads reading challenge! It's enjoyable, light and meaningful—what else could you possibly ask for in a middle-grade novel? My sister read this after me and she decided to rate it five stars... she loved it!

Mighty Jack has an amazing protagonist who I just want to give a BIG hug to, and everything in between was just great. It's difficult for me to give a middle-grade novel five stars, and this just didn't need that extra star, but I still adored it otherwise. This will definitely be a bestseller. Kids, beg your parents for this adorable read!

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is your favourite graphic novel? What is your newest favourite middle-grade novel?

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