Book Review: Helen Cresswell ~ Ordinary Jack: the Bagthorpe Saga

Ordinary Jack is aimed at the 9+ market. Yes it’s a children’s book. It’s full of guileless humour and strong characterisation.

Ordinary Jack is a member of the Bagthorpe family all of whom are very high achieving talented and utterly boastful. Ordinary Jack is well ordinary. He doesn’t have ‘strings to his bow’-

Tess (who was thirteen and read Voltaire in the original for pleasure and was a Black Belt in Judo, besides talking like a dictionary) ran behind.

is the paradigm for the Bagthorpe family. The family have been told to be boastful. “Mother and Father… say its an inbuilt fault of the English to underestimate themselves.” So Jack devotes all of his energies towards teaching his dog tricks. But the tricks are very, very basic like fetching a stick.

Uncle Parker tries to take Jack in hand and manufacture uniqueness, which in this case is for Jack to be a prophet. Utterly ridiculous but fabulous. If you have a child/ grand-child of a suitable age buy it and then borrow it; if you don’t have a child/ grand-child then pretend you do, buy it and enjoy!

Why you should read this book: You’ll have a relatively short read which is very rewarding

Why you shouldn’t read this book: It is a children’s book and that might be a barrier for you

Buy it at abebooks


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