The Several Lives of Orphan Jack

The Several Lives of Orphan Jack

Written by: Ellis, Sarah
Illustrated by: St-Aubin, Bruno
ages 7 to 10 / grades 2 to 5

Winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award

For young Jack, life is tough at the Opportunities School for Orphans. But Jack is good at staying out of trouble. He has skipped over trouble, danced around trouble, slid under trouble, melted away from trouble, talked his way out of trouble and slipped between two close troubles like a cat through a picket fence.

When Jack turns twelve, he is given the biggest opportunity of all, but suddenly his life is nothing but trouble. Still, he is a clever and resilient boy, and eventually he makes his way into the big world. Jack is rich in ideas, and soon he finds there is a place for an enterprising boy who has whims, concepts, plans, opinions, impressions, notions and fancies to spare.

In the tradition of Natalie Babbitt, Sarah Ellis brings her quirky sense of humor and imagination to bear in this witty, warm fable. Bruno St-Aubin's evocative black-and-white illustrations capture perfectly the dreadful Schoolmaster Bane, the crowlike accountant Mr. Ledger, Lou the skinny bun merchant, and Christabel, the miller's little daughter.

Winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award

For young Jack, life is tough at the Opportunities School for Orphans. But Jack is good at staying out of trouble. He has skipped over trouble, danced around trouble, slid under trouble, melted away from trouble, talked his way out of trouble and slipped between two close troubles like a cat through a picket fence.

When Jack turns twelve, he is given the biggest opportunity of all, but suddenly his life is nothing but trouble. Still, he is a clever and resilient boy, and eventually he makes his way into the big world. Jack is rich in ideas, and soon he finds there is a place for an enterprising boy who has whims, concepts, plans, opinions, impressions, notions and fancies to spare.

In the tradition of Natalie Babbitt, Sarah Ellis brings her quirky sense of humor and imagination to bear in this witty, warm fable. Bruno St-Aubin's evocative black-and-white illustrations capture perfectly the dreadful Schoolmaster Bane, the crowlike accountant Mr. Ledger, Lou the skinny bun merchant, and Christabel, the miller's little daughter.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Sep 1, 2003
Specifications 88 pages | 5.5 in x 8.4 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt
Written By

SARAH ELLIS is a celebrated author, teacher and children’s literature expert. She has written more than twenty books across the genres, and her books have been translated into French, Spanish, Danish, Chinese and Japanese. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award (Pick-Up Sticks) and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (Odd Man Out). Sarah is a masthead reviewer for the Horn Book Magazine, and she is a former faculty member of Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin is one of Canada's most renowned children's book illustrators and to date has written or illustrated over 130 picture books and novels.
Audience ages 7 to 10 / grades 2 to 5

Short-listed, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award, 2004

Winner, IODE Violet Downey Book Award, 2004

Winner, Mr. Christie's Book Award, 2004

Short-listed, Hackmatack Award, 2005

Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards: Text, 2003

Long-listed, Chocolate Lily Award, 2004

Long-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, 2004

Long-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize, 2004

“[An] agile tale about wanderlust and the power of words. Ellis demonstrates through her creative - and often surprising - use of metaphor that an active imagination and rich vocabulary are a healthy combination.” —Horn Book

“...there is real strength in Ellis's turns of phrase, use of imagery, and alliteration, and in showing readers the power of words and ideas to liberate the imagination.” —School Library Journal

“Ellis has created a small gem here, with messages about following your heart tucked into the sentences, phrases, thoughts, and ideas that she seamlessly weaves together.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“The playfulness of this picaresque short novel is utterly engaging. Words, words and more words, alliterative pairs of words like villains and volumes, scholars and scoundrels, toffee and tyrants, fall in torrents from the pages...” —Globe and Mail

“Told with the outsize zest of a tall tale, this vibrant, well-crafted novel starts strong and gets even better.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This special book is filled with often humorous and extraordinarily rich descriptive prose that is always a pleasure to read and full of surprises.” —Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

"Ellis has created a small gem here, with messages about following your heart tucked into the sentences, phrases, thoughts, and ideas that she seamlessly weaves together." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"Told with the outsize zest of a tall tale, this vibrant, well-crafted novel starts strong and gets even better." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

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