Saturday, March 04, 2023

Saturday Morning Cartoons- Jacky Ha-Ha Gets the Last Laugh

Grabenstein, Chris. Jacky Ha-Ha Gets the Last Laugh
March 6th 2023 by jimmy patterson
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

After Jacky Ha-Ha and Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life is a Joke, we return to Seaside Heights to see what Jacky and her five sisters are up to. Because their dad isn't a full-time cop yet, and their mother is still in college to be a cop after serving in the Gulf War, Jacky is working on the board walk. It's not terrible, but since it's 1991, it's also only $4.50 an hour. When she runs into Latoya Sherron, with whom she had worked previously, the actress strongly suggests Jacky for to Camp Footlights to improve her acting skills, and offers to foot the bill. Soon, Jacky is spending three weeks in August at the elite camp. It's not exactly up her alley; they don't appreciate her jokes. Still, she and her roommate Brooklyn get up to lots of fun, even though the first thing they do is to get in trouble for singing and dancing and are sent to the costume department as punishment. There are Acting in Commercials classes, the Spontaneous Combustion Improv group, and trips to New York to see plays. There are also rich mean girls who make fun of her, and the evil Mr. Beasley, who treats Jacky poorly and doesn't blink when she says she wants to go home! Luckily, her patron steps in, and it isn't long before she is back at the camp. She finds out a fun secret about Brooklyn, and ends the summer knowing that her own daughters (whom she addresses in a letter at the beginning of the book) will do fine in their own summer camps. 
Strengths: While I was more interested in Jacky's life on the boardwalk, summer stories are always popular, and there are a lot of fun drama related activities that children who are interested in acting will enjoy reading about. Brooklyn is a good friend, and she stands up for Jacky when kids make fun of her. Jacky has an upbeat outlook on life, and is always trying out new jokes. The illustrations will appeal to reading who like books like Libenson's Invisible Emmy, but the plot is more humorous. 
Weaknesses: While I always appreciate being told when and where a book takes places, there are a LOT of mentions that it is 1991, and it seemed a bit odd. 
What I really think: I need to hand this series to readers who enjoy Russell's Dork Diaries and Holm's Babymouse: Tales from the Locker books. Patterson's books like Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and I Funny are more popular with the boys in my school, but they don't pick this series up as much. 
 Ms. Yingling

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