Just Jack by Adele Broadbent

Just Jack is the story of Jack Baines, a boy who is trying to prove himself to his family and achieve his dream of becoming a jockey.  Jack has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, who is good at everything he does, but when Jack’s uncle notices how great he is with horses, he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for.

Jack’s uncle gets him an apprenticeship with Mr Mac, where he’ll learn how to be a jockey.  His dream job isn’t as great as he thought it would be though – another boy working on the farm keeps making trouble for Jack and Mr Mac is a mean old man who doesn’t give him the opportunities he wants.   With his dreams in tatters, his uncle comes up with a solution that will change his life.  However, one hot,  sunny morning disaster strikes and Jack’s world comes crashing down around him.

Just Jack is set in Hastings in 1930 but the last part of the book takes place in Napier in 1931, when the Napier earthquake happened.  You really feel like you are there with Jack, with the earth shaking and buildings falling around you.  Everyone here in Christchurch can especially relate to the story because of all our earthquakes.  Jack is a great character and you really want him to achieve his dream of being a jockey, but I also liked the character of Mr Mac.

I recommend it for anyone who likes stories about horses (not just girls!), history, or disasters.     9 out of 10

2 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Hi there! It’s great to see that people are enjoying ‘Just Jack’! It is a very special story to me, as my late grandfather helped me with many parts of the story. He was called ‘Wee George Baines’ when he was a lad and that’s where I got the idea for my main character ‘Wee Jack’. My Poppa went through some of the things Jack goes through – but you’ll have to read it to find out! I had to do tons and tons of research on racehorses and the 1931 Napier Earthquake, but I met some amazing people along the way.

  2. 2

    zackids said,

    Thanks Adele 🙂 It’s always interesting to find out where a story idea comes from.


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