Morning all, and welcome to another meeting of the Maniacal Book Club! Today we have a middle grade illustrated chapter book that leaves no depth unplumbed in the humorous misadventure category. It is Jesper Jinx by Finnish author Marko Kitti. Marko is the first Finnish author we’ve had on the blog so far, so we’ve come over all multicultural. But let’s get on with it!
Jesper Jinx is an eleven year old boy who seems to attract trouble like nobody’s business. This book follows some of Jesper’s escapades (two and a half, to be exact), as told to author Marko Kitti. In the first story, Jesper accidentally gives his cat, Snowy, a new fur colour and in the second, Jesper accidentally gives away some of his best pranks to a teaching insider. Essentially, this is a written record of the things that can go wrong in hilarious ways when a bored young lad is unleashed upon unsuspecting passers-by.
My friends, this book is all about learning one’s lesson, about gaining self-control and about turning one’s skills to good, not evil. Actually, in all honesty my friends, this book is about none of those things. It is about mayhem and chaos and shenanigans perpetrated upon the unwary and innocent.
The boy Jinx has a telling catchphrase throughout this book: “What harm would it do to have a little fun?” Kitti’s writings recorded here explain fully the extent of how wrong things may go if left in the hands of an unsupervised eleven year old boy. I fear for the karma of the Jinx boy.
No dragons in this book. There’s lots of trouble though. And a cat that gets turned red. And a kid with a moustache – I thought that was pretty funny. But no dragons. That’s probably a good thing because Jesper with a dragon could be more than the world is ready for. Still. It might be more fun if there was a dragon.
If he were a girl, you’d call him a minx.
His crazy behaviour will make parents groan,
He probably shouldn’t be let out on his own.
Heed this advice that I freely share::
Should you see Jesper coming, by heavens, beware!
Jesper Jinx is the kind of book that will have kids aged about 7 and up rolling in the aisles as they read about Jesper’s wildly chaotic adventures. The book is a short read with a great formatting balance between text and illustrations and will have the young ones (especially boys, methinks) turning the pages until they’ve uncovered the whole sorry tale of Jesper’s antics. The story is packed full of kid friendly humour, like playing pranks on one’s teacher, and is really all about innocent fun.
Kitti’s style is very much like a combination of Roald Dahl and David Walliams, so if you’ve read either of those two authors (and really, who hasn’t?!) you’ll know exactly what you’re in for here. There’s plenty of silliness and unexpected plot twists that plunge Jesper into even more trouble than before.
Admittedly, this is one of those books for kids that really is pitched to be enjoyed most by kids in the target age range, rather than one that adults will get a lot out of too. Having said that, it does have all the makings of an engaging, fun, funny and accessible entry point into the early chapter book format and as such, would be perfect for reluctant readers, or as a “just for the fun of it” classroom read-aloud.
You can visit Jesper and find out more about this book and the next in the series at http://www.jesperjinx.co.uk
Until next time,
Bruce (and the club!)