Jack Plank Tells Tales

Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt

JackPlankTellsTalesJack Plank was a pirate, but he wasn’t very good at it.  Oh, he enjoyed sailing on the ocean, and the camaraderie of the pirates on the ship the Avarice.  But, he wasn’t good at plundering.

This was fine until tough times (even for the pirates) forced the captain of the Avarice to send Jack Plank off the ship.  They sailed to a nearby island, and by cover of night, several pirates rowed Jack to shore, and gave him some money (they took up a collection on board).

And so, Jack needed to start a new life.  He looked around the town and harbor, and found a boarding house that he thought might suit him.  As he was dressed as a pirate, he needed to convince the landlady that she and her other boarders had nothing to fear from him.  They decided to give it a try while Jack looked for work.

Each evening around the supper table, Jack told of what he had seen that day, and why a particular kind of work just wouldn’t suit him.  These tales always went back to folks he’d encountered in his life as a pirate.  Jack couldn’t be a farmer because he didn’t want to cross a bridge in case of trolls.  He couldn’t be a barber because it reminded him of a former shipmate with a fine beard.  He couldn’t be a baker because it would remind him of a peculiar fellow the Avarice encountered with a washtub, a story of a mermaid, and a need to bake a cake.

As Jack’s money began to run low, he decided he must leave the boardinghouse and town as he couldn’t find suitable work.  He liked the people at the boardinghouse, and they liked him.  When Jack prepared to leave, the boardinghouse landlady surprised him with a job – telling tales three days a week for paying customers, with tea to follow – one that suited him very well.  And, Jack never ran out of stories.

This is a fun tale of adventure with a likeable main character – well-written by master storyteller Natalie Babbitt.