>Mordecai Richler – Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang

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Jacob Two-Two is two plus two plus two years old and has 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes, 2 brothers, and two sisters.  He has to constantly repeat himself because he is the youngest of five children, people only hear him the 2nd time he says something; this constant repeating of what he says gets him in trouble with the “big people” as it puts him in a children’s prison with the warden, a hooded fang, in Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang.

Jacob Two-Two is feeling kind of useless because he is always told he is too little to do many of the things his older brothers and sisters can do.  One day he is tired of being too little to do things so he asks his father to send him on an errand.  His father gives him two copper coins and sends Jacob Two-Two two doors down to buy two ripe tomatoes.  At the grocery store, the owner mistakes Jacob Two-Two’s repeating as mockery and signals a police officer to arrest Jacob Two-Two for making fun of an adult.  Jacob Two-Two is sent away to children’s prison.

At the prison the warden, a hooded fang, is very evil and mean to all the children captives – over two hundred of them.  However, he is unable to force Jacob Two-Two to be scared of him and so decides to execute him.  Jacob Two-Two of course becomes very useful in not only saving himself, but saving all the children.

Although a book length novella for kids – ~80 pages with generous spacing – the book is basically just an extended version of a children’s picture book.  There are even numerous illustrations to accompany the story.  The story of a boy who considers himself useless and then becomes very useful in the end could very well have come right out of a picture book.  On the other hand, as my Children’s Literature course suggest, it could be a fantasy book for kids.

This book is very peculiar; because Jacob Two-Two is only two plus two plus 2 years old, the story actually fits that particular age group very well.  However, at that age they are not able to read this book on their own.  So it would be have to be a bed time story or something a kindergarten or grade one teacher might read to their students.  But it’s too long to read as a bed time story and children that age, or any age actually, do not have the attention span to sit through the entire story in one sitting.  Like I said, very peculiar.

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