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Helena Harper

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Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair by Shelly Faith Nicholson
By Helena Harper   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, July 06, 2009
Posted: Monday, July 06, 2009

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An amusing look at the life and thoughts of a five year old!

The whole of this story is written from the point of view of a boy called Jake the Snake, who is five and three-quarters (that 'three-quarters' is so important to young children, isn't it?) and the language used is the language you'll hear from a young child: “I made sure I was the bestest kid ever for the next three days,” “'Cause I made my brother's lizard drowned in chocolate sauce” and “I ain't a rock collector” are just a few examples. This might not be to everyone's taste, but it does make for great authenticity.

There are some lovely touches of humour. For example, after a chandelier swinging incident when Jake the Snake is sent to the time-out chair to do pennance (which he hates), he regrets saying to his mother, “I wish I had a new Mom! 'Cause you're the meanest Mom in the whole world!” and his mother replies, “Maybe you can ask Santa for a new Mom. I bet he has lots of moms at the North Pole.” After he has cried himself to sleep, he wakes up, rushes into the kitchen and hugs his mother, because he is sorry he said what he did. His mother then says, “I'm sorry I lost my temper” and Jake replies, “Where'd you lose it, Mom? I can help you find it.”

Various other adventures are described, which Jake has in the build-up to Christmas, when nearly all his thoughts are centred round the fear that he will only get a lump of coal for Christmas or perhaps not even that because he hasn't been a good boy. I particularly enjoyed reading the account of Jake's visit to Santa in the shopping mall and what finally happens when Christmas does come - the ending is both charming and sweet. Shelly Nicholson does a very good job of getting into the mind-set of a young child and, if you want to know how a five year old thinks and speaks, then this book is for you.


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