"The wisps of fog were whisked aside, and the girls looked up at the stars and saw--The devil? Well, if he wasn't the devil, then who the devil was he?" Philip Pullman can sure tell a story. Spring-Heeled Jack, originally published years ago in the U.K., is an over-the-top Victorian romp in the boisterous vein of the master storyteller's Count Karlstein and I Was a Rat. All the ingredients for an edge-of-seat page-turner are here: three hapless orphans; the brandy-swigging Mr. Killjoy and his horrible assistant, Miss Gasket, at the Alderman Cawn-Plaster Memorial Orphanage; and the greedy, murderous Mack the Knife who awaits them in the dank city of London. Of course, this is no bad-luck Lemony Snicket tale. There's a superhero named Spring-Heeled Jack to save the day! Pullman is at his tongue-in-cheek best here, telling half the happy-ending tale with a sooty, dramatic Dickensian spin, and the other half with David Mostyn's artful cartoons, undercutting the mock-heavy-handed drama at every turn. Readers will find plenty of Pullman's characteristic wit and wordplay amid the nonstop, rip-roaring adventure. Excellent! (Ages 8 to 14) --Karin Snelson
Spring-Heeled Jack: The name evoked awe from both criminals and upstanding citizens alike. Some thought he was the devil, but he was actually the original superhero—leaping over the buildings of Victorian England with the help of springs in the heels of his shoes.
The story begins as three young innocents escape their orphanage one dark and stormy night. As they make their way through the treacherous streets of London danger lurks, for hiding in the shadows is Mack the Knife, the most villainous of villains. Enter Spring-Heeled Jack, the springiest of heroes. But will Jack’s powers be enough to save the orphans?
Originally published in paperback, Spring-Heeled Jack is back—now as a hardcover with eye-catching new jacket art.
From the Hardcover edition.
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