Jack and the Hurricane
Hey, Josh, thanks for mentioning me on the dedication page of Jack and the Hurricane [Tuckamore Books]. Did you realize you were including me when you said, “To my grandparents … and your grandparents, too!”?
I’m claiming recognition according to that last bit; I’m a grandparent. Children’s books have always tickled me, even before I arrived at my dotage. And I have a fatal attraction to cupcakes. Those illustrated beneath your dedication are another reason why I clap hands for the whole page.
That Jack! The young vill’yain ought to have listened to Granny and not ventured out into the hurricane.
What could Granny do? Young boys — even boys with red troll hair such as Jack — are bound to find a reason to hasten into the wind; in Jack’s case, those yum-yum-licious cupcakes that he is committed to delivering to Cousin Erin’s birthday party.
We know why Jack, unbeknownst to Granny, rigged out in his rubber clothes and dodged off into a storm reminiscent of mean ol’ Igor of a few years back — dedication to his cousin; determination to finish a task; and downright damned foolishness.
I don’t remember exactly why, nigh onto sixty years ago, I, of my own cracked bay-boy volition, braced myself against the hurricane Ione’s furious wind. I do recall it was great sport for a bunch of us to hold our jackets open, let Ione blow them full as sails in a … well, in a hurricane, I s’pose, and heave me and my buddy-boys twenty or thirty feet into the protective [?] arms of a clump of alders. Cracked, eh b’ys? Jack manages to stay on his feet as he wanders through the hurricane. Sure, he’s more or less oblivious to the stormy weather. Believe me, cupcakes can do that to a guy; make him oblivious to his surroundings, that is.
When he walks in the storm [!], Jack finds his neighbour, Mr. Sweetwater, bailing out his basement.
Almost as heedless as a legendary Jack who bartered a cow for a handful of beans, Cupcake Jack fancies Mrs. Sweetwater has overflowed the bathtub. He also believes that firemen manning a roadblock are rescuing a quintal of cats from a tree — because it has been raining cats and… [Come on now, you don’t expect me to attempt such lame humour, do you?]. Jack also thinks a group of soldiers is literally fighting the storm; he imagines cannons positioned to blast the bejabbers out of the clouds. Is Jack truly as stund as a stump? No. No. No. Jack is the witless, spell-bound victim of enchanting cupcakes; cupcakes whose tops are frosted with swirls of chocolate and strawberry icing; cupcakes whose frosted tops are sprinkled with a rainbow of hundreds and thousands.
By the way, along the way, simply because they ask, Jack treats whoever he encounters with — guess what — cupcakes from a diminishing pile.
This razor-sharp, cupcakedeprived grandparent soon surmised that Jack would run out of cupcakes if he kept feeding people. Surely, sharp-as-whips children will recognize Jack’s generosity and fear he will run out of cupcakes before he reaches Erin’s house.
Eventually, after traversing washed-out roads, witnessing leaf-littered chaos and withstanding hurricane gales, Jack arrives at his destination, soaked to his drawers and bearing a plate whose glass dome shelters a single — yet, despite the storm, still looking yum-yum-licious — cupcake.
Perhaps towed by the cupcakes’ Siren song, sort of like Hamlin’s rats by the piper’s tune, all hands — Granny, Mr. Sweetwater, the firemen, the soldiers — arrive at Erin’s house shortly after Jack steps inside…
… and they all lived happily ever after … while partying hearty on cupcakes and … some more cupcakes.
Oh, I forgot. There’s an umbrella in this book. It’s rainbow-hued and, although battered and bent, it suggests calm after the storm. I know that’s what the umbrella suggests because it’s there on the last page inverted and containing a puddle of rainwater with happy duckies swimming in it and a bluebird roosting on its handle.
One other thing. There’s also a dog in this book. He’s a hefty Newfoundland. At one point he holds the umbrella. He accompanies Jack on the washed-out road to Erin’s house. He wears a collar and nametag and, although his tag can’t be read, I bet a loonie — Frig it, I bet two loonies! — the dog’s name is Bo’sun.
Thank you for reading.
Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A photo published in the Nov. 18th edition of The Compass on Page A3 showing a member of 295 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Baccalieu parading with a Canadian flag incorrectly identified the flag bearer. The girl in the photo was Petty Officer 2nd Class Carissa Pike.