Super Jake & The King of Chaos
Super Jake & The King of Chaos
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Annotation: Escaping into the world of illusions to cope with the stress of his overworked parents and his special-needs brother's hospital visits, eleven-year-old Ethan becomes a finalist in a junior magic competition.
Catalog Number: #182605
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Running Press
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 278 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7624-6615-4
ISBN 13: 978-0-7624-6615-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018945857
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
An aspiring magician in Maryland must balance performing with caring for his baby brother, disabled due to brain damage, who's based on Milliner's son.Eleven-year-old Ethan Miller loves magic. Having honed his tricks at birthday parties with his puckish 7-year-old brother, Freddy, as his assistant, Ethan's determined to compete at Magic Fest in Atlantic City; the winner gets to meet his hero, Magnus the Magnificent! Unfortunately, getting his parents' permission—and attention—is tough. Born with brain damage that's left him unable to move or speak and prone to extreme internal temperature fluctuations, Ethan's baby brother, Jake, almost 2, requires constant care. But when Jake falls seriously ill, Ethan learns that Jake is "the real magician in [his] family." Though the author sympathetically acknowledges the stress of Jake's condition and Ethan's occasional feelings of neglect, the Millers' love for one another radiates throughout Ethan's witty, introspective narration. Jake is never a burden; his family members include him in fun activities and everyday life as best they can. However, there's no question that Jake's primary role in the plot is to inspire Ethan—a tired trope. Ethan's Jewish faith inflects his story, from his observation of Yom Kippur to thought-provoking discussions of disability and God's will. Some characters are stock, and some conflicts resolve via incredible coincidences—but, as Ethan notes, magic is "a mysterious, seemingly inexplicable" force, after all. As a fun finale, Ethan teaches five magic tricks. Most characters appear white; one of Ethan's friends is East Asian.A warm, hopeful debut. (Fiction. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 Ethan is an aspiring magician who has been practicing magic since fifth grade and performs for children's birthday parties. He has two younger brothers: Freddie, who can be annoying, and two-year-old Jake, who was born with a neurological disorder. He loves his family, but sometimes feels that life isn't always fair with a brother whose needs consume the family. Ethan wants to perform in front of a real audience and maybe even meet his hero, Magnus the Magnificent. His dreams have the possibility of coming true when he learns about a competition in Atlantic City. He begs his parents to let him attend. They finally agree and then Jake falls gravely ill. His parents are at the hospital for days, so Freddie and Ethan are shuttled to and from their grandparent's, neighbor's, and friend's. There is a great support system for the family as they endure this stressful period. Ethan's mother arranges for a neighbor to accompany Ethan to the competition. He performs perfectly and makes it to the finals. When he calls home to let everyone know, he gets devastating news. Jake has had a setback and no one is sure he will survive. Ethan is torn. Should he finish the competition and possibly have his dreams come true? Or does he go home to support his baby brother? Readers will feel his frustration and fear while rooting for this loving family. Back matter includes instructions for performing some of the magic tricks that are mentioned in the novel. VERDICT A strong family story for realistic middle grade fiction shelves. Annette Herbert, F. E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NY
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Aspiring magician Ethan, 11, learns the true meaning of magic in this charming and heartwarming debut. Ethan is desperate to enter a magic competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the winner of which will meet and perform with Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan's hero. Though Ethan makes money doing magic shows for children's parties, with his younger brother Freddy as his assistant, his earnings won't cover his expenses to Atlantic City from Maryland. Just when he thinks he's figured out a way to make the trip, his baby brother Jake gets seriously ill. Jake has a neurological disorder and can't talk or move on his own, but he's always smiling and is adored by his family and therapists. Ethan is fiercely loyal to his family, getting in trouble for shoving the new kid at school when he calls Jake the hurtful r-word. Ethan needs a miracle to save his brother and achieve his heart's desire. This honest and uplifting portrayal of children with disabilities feels real, and the ways in which the members of Ethan's family interact with one another feels right: they disagree but also love and appreciate one another, and their love for Jake brings out the best in all of them. The author based Jake on her own son, and that portrayal lends authenticity to this funny and moving story.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (4/1/19)
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Guided Reading Level: U
Fountas & Pinnell: U

A debut contemporary novel about 11-year-old aspiring magician Ethan, who discovers that heroes come in all sizes, and real magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

When life revolves around stressed-out parents and ER visits for his special needs little brother Jake, eleven-year-old Ethan escapes to a world of top hats, trick decks, and magic wands. When he hears of a junior magic competition where the top prize is to meet and perform with his hero, Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan is determined to do whatever he needs to get there--and to win.

His dedication and hard work pay off, and he makes it to the top five finalists: his dream really could come true! Then Jake falls dangerously ill and Ethan's hopes and plans are in jeopardy. As he searches for any sort of magic that might save Jake, Ethan learns what is truly important . . . and what real magic is.

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