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Reviews of Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey

by Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli X
Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2013, 304 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Ellis Smith
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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

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 ...

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Reviews

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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...continued

Full Review (737 words)

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(Reviewed by Tamara Ellis Smith).

Media Reviews

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

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.

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.

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.

Reader Reviews

kk

the hokey pokey book
It was an interesting book to read as a 20 year old. Reading it I felt as a kid once again.
lalith

revanth
It is very good.

Write your own review!

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Beyond the Book

The Hokey Pokey

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 ...

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