Jacob Two-Two was a big hit in our family. It is short (87 pages), with brief chapters that are perfect for reading to the children before hustling them into bed. It also meets my bedtime story criteria: lots of illustrations, appeals to boys and girls, and is enjoyed by both children and parents. My husband read quite a few of the chapters this time, and I am pleased to report that this book was a hit with everyone.
Jacob is the youngest of five children, is two times two times two years old, and repeats everything he says twice because otherwise no one notices him. He struggles with his family over emerging independence; he can pour his own cereal, but isn't allowed to cross the street. He wants to help but can't do things right, and is an unwanted tag-along in his older sibling's games. After inadvertently offending the grocer with his repetitious speaking, Jacob is arrested and sentenced to two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours and two minutes at the children's prison. This Lemony Snickett style institution is run by the Hooded Fang, formerly the "most hated and vile villian in all of wrestling". Happily, it is not long before Jacob overthrows the Big People running the fearsome prison, with the assistance of the juvenile heroes of Child Power, the Intrepid Shapiro and the Fearless O'Toole (a.k.a. Jacob's siblings, Emma and Noah). It is a charming story of empowerment for little folk.
Unsurprisingly, with Richler, the writing is witty, clever, and the characters well-drawn. I particularly appreciated Louis Loser and Justice Rough.