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Mighty Jack: 10/08/20

Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke is the start of a graphic novel series that overlaps with Little Robot and Zita the Space Girl.

Jack and Maddy live with their mother in a rural town. Their mother works long hours to make ends meet but it looks like they're still going to lose the house. Jack, meanwhile, is in charge of his selectively mute sister. While it's never stated why Maddy needs extra attention, it's implied she's autistic.

While at the flea market, Maddy and Jack end up trading for a box of magic seeds. (It's also where Maddy sees the girl from Little Robot with her box of odds and ends.

Their magic garden draws the attention of neighbor Lilly. She, Jack and Maddy become fast friends. But the magic harvest also draws the attention of extra-dimensional creatures.

While I like the interaction of Jack and Lilly, I'm disappointed with Maddy's portrayal. She is a burden to her brother and a source of worry and hardship for her mother. She's also a source of trouble because of her curiosity and naïveté. She's duped into taking the seeds. And finally she's kidnapped by a magical creature, thus launching the hook to the second volume. Maddy is essentially a prop and a plot device, not a wholly realized character.

Jack and Maddy's story is framed in the road narrative spectrum. As brother and sister, they are sibling travelers (CC). Their initial journey, the one that eventually leads to the second book's adventure, is a rural one — one through the town and the neighborhood (33). Their route is the Blue Highway, namely the road through town (33). Summarized, this volume is about siblings who begin their adventure with a rural trip along the Blue Highway (CC3333).

Four stars

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