I found the format for Jack's stories unique--quirky--enough that I think it could find a significant place in our discussion. The book begs to be read aloud, which would put it in reach of an even lower age range.
I respectfully disagree with DianeB. I do think this book has the weight of a Newbery. The familiar aspect of the stories, yet with different twists, is a great part of the storytelling craft/tradition and is beautifully woven together in this book. Granted, I haven't read many of this year's crop of new books, but this is one of my favorites thus far.
I agree with amyvan that this story would make an excellent read-aloud. I liked the way Jack's stories were told, gradually revealing his charcter more and more. That being said, I have to say that I had to struggle to finish this book. There's wasn't much conflict, which I was expecting with a pirate tale, and I thought it was REALLY predictable. This would be a good transitional chapter book for younger readers, as well as a fun readaloud, but a Newbery winner...?
I found it interesting, but not Newbery worthy. It was fun at first, the same - different stories, but a more appropriate title would be Lazy Jack. I didn't get a feel for a depth of character. The setting was ok, but still, not nearly up to making this time, which is vague to me, real for me. Thinking of several other books on this list, it just isn't a contender. Besides the whole big disappointment coming from Babbitt. She just didn't get the job done for me.
I am more than happy to agree with those who don't see this book as a Newberry winner. I agree that it was thoroughly predictable and unlike some of the others, I didn't enjoy the "journey" to the predictable end. To be perfectly honest, I was bored. I consider myself to be interested by a lot of mundane things and most mundane reading material, but I could barely keep turning the pages of this one. Could a kid make it through this book? I don't know, but I wouldn't force any kid to try! There's a good chance that this one is the absolute bottom of my list.