Summary and book reviews of Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey

By Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2013,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2014,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen - and by a girl, no less - his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos.

Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that's impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.  

NIGHT

All night long Seven Sisters whisper and giggle and then, all together, they rush Orion the Hunter and tickle him, and Orion the Hunter laughs so hard he shakes every star in the sky, not to mention Mooncow, who loses her balance and falls—puh-loop!—into Big Dipper, which tip-tip-tips and dumps Mooncow into Milky Way, and Mooncow laughs and splashes and rolls on her back and goes floating down down down Milky Way, and she laughs a great moomoonlaugh and kicks at a lavender star and the star goes shooting across the sky, up the sky and down the sky, a lavender snowfireball down the highnight down . . .

down . . .

down . . .

down . . .

TODAY
Jack



. . . to Hokey Pokey . . .

. . . where it lands, a golden bubble now, a starborn bead, lands and softly pips upon the nose of sleeping Jack and spills a whispered word:

it's

and then another:

time

***

Something is wrong.

He knows it before he opens his eyes.

He looks.

His bike is ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

Jerry Spinelli manages to wholly – and sometimes painfully – portray the internal landscape of being a child, all against the mesmerizing, larger landscape of Hokey Pokey.

Hokey Pokey is well suited for middle graders (ages 8-12) but will be wholeheartedly enjoyed by young adults and adults as well.   (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).

Full Review Members Only (1218 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Spinelli's story will set imaginations spinning and keep readers guessing about Jack's fate and what Hokey Pokey is all about (so to speak). The ending is both inevitable and a risk (it invokes one of the more clichéd tropes in literature and film), but Spinelli's dizzying portrait of life in Hokey Pokey will keep readers rapt. Ages 10–up.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A masterful, bittersweet recognition of coming-of-age. Ages 10-13, and up.

VOYA

[Hokey Pokey] explores childhood as a place as well as a period of time. Spinelli's poignant story of leaving childhood behind and growing into the unknowns of adolescence is cleverly approached and lyrical in presentation. This is essential for all public and school libraries.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. This unforgettable coming-of-age story will resonate with tween readers and take its rightful place beside the author’s Maniac Magee and Louis Sachar’s Holes.

Reader Reviews
lalith

revanth
It is very good.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

The Hokey Pokey Song: Speculations about its Origins

You put your right foot in
You put your right foot out
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

The Hokey Pokey is a timeless circle game, played by millions of children in millions of circles across many, many miles. But where did it come from? How did it start?

The Hokey Pokey Dance The Hokey Pokey (known as such in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia, known as Hokey Cokey in the U.K., and Hokey Tokey in New Zealand) is a circle dance, in which the participants sing the song (see above) and follow the lyrics, putting different parts of the body into the circle when instructed to do so. The Hokey Pokey appears to have a few ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Hokey Pokey, try these:

  • Joey Pigza Loses Control jacket

    Joey Pigza Loses Control

    by Jack Gantos

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    As if Joey didn't get into enough trouble in his unforgettable debut, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key>/i>(1998), Gantos has him wig out again in this sad, scary, blackly funny sequel....   A tragic tale in many ways, but a triumph too. (Ages 11 and up)

  • My One Hundred Adventures jacket

    My One Hundred Adventures

    by Polly Horvath

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The winner of a National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and countless other awards has written her richest, most spirited book yet, filled with characters that readers will love, and never forget.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.