Jack's Talent

Hardcover, Ages 4-8, 32 pages
Farrar Straus & Giroux, July 2007
ISBN# 978-0-374-33681-3 

Award: CCBC 2008 Pick

On the first day of school, Miss Lucinda asks the students to share their talents. Francesca is good at soccer, and Matthew is good at fishing. It seems that everyone has something to share. But Jack is worried. He doesn’t have any talent at all…or so he thinks.
The illustrations in Jack’s Talent pop with energy and the story is the perfect boost for any child who questions his or her abilities.


"With simple, short sentences, Jack's feelings and worries are sympathetically portrayed in this supportive, positive read. Animated, expressive cartoon-style art, with colorful texture and detail, depicts the diverse characters and their various activities, in familiar school, home, and outdoor environments. A reassuring confidence booster, encouraging children -and their adults- to creatively think about what they enjoy, their abilities, and how to recognize and celebrate individual accomplishments."   - Shelle Rosenfeld June 07

Horn Book -

 Wise teacher Miss Lucinda introduces herself to Jack’s class with her name and talent: “I plant flowers and watch them grow. I am good at gardening.” Each child then gets a turn to introduce him or herself, like Francesca (good at soccer) and Matthew (good at fishing). Cocca-Leffler’s joyful paintings show the children engaged in their favorite activities and individualize each class member through his or her skin tone, hair style, etc., although they all share the same slightly comical large heads and widespread eyes. The last member of the class to take a turn is Jack, who sadly can’t think of a thing he is good at. However, Jack clearly is excellent at one thing, providing a very believable but still surprising conclusion. Teachers will want to use this at the beginning of a school year, but children will find piquant details in the pictures when they return to it later on their own. s.d.l.