Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked
Author: Adrian Edmondson
Illustrations: Danny Noble
Details: 256pp, £5.99, paperback
Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked is the second book from comedian Adrian Edmondson. I was expecting an abundance of humour – but what I got was so much more. Surprisingly, Junkyard Jack was an emotional rollercoaster of a book. In among the humour of Uncle Ted’s flatulence problems (complete with comical wind instrument references), and a moody and very opinionated Shetland pony named Boadicea, Edmondson deals with sensitive issues such as dyslexia, loss, incarceration and estranged parents.
When Jack Sampson’s mum is imprisoned (much like The A-Team, for a crime she did not commit), Jack is sent to live with Aunt Violet, flatulent Uncle Ted and vile cousin Kelly. Struggling at school and at home, Jack finds solace in helping Mr Mudge with his junkyard and two horses (Lightning and Boadicea). When poor Mr Mudge is involved in an accident, Jack inadvertently runs away – as he is determined to rescue Boadicea from the junkyard – and this is where his adventure begins.
During their escape attempt, Boadicea breaks her animal oath and speaks. A firm friendship develops and the two unlikely friends meet Jack’s dad and granddad, Jack takes part in the Grand National and – after taking a vow to keep the animals’ secret – he sets out to prove his mother’s innocence, with the assistance of an army of talking woodland animals.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as did all the children who read it with me. I would recommend this book for all key stage 2, although some of the humour was missed by our lower key stage 2 pupils, who enjoyed it regardless. It would also be great for a class-read or book club. It has an equal measure of humour and serious issues, and the illustration complements the story perfectly.
Angela Kent is library assistant at Four Lanes Community Junior School in Chineham, Hampshire
‘A great book with sad parts’
I recommend this book to older children as there is some complicated language and sad parts. It is all about the talking animals that help Jack, who has run away from home (well, from his drippy Aunt Violet, farting Uncle Ted and horrible cousin Kelly). There is a funny talking horse called Boadicea, who Jack is especially fond of. This is a great book.
Sofia, Year 4
‘I’d recommend this to everyone’
I liked this book because Jack acted really heroic and brave. It’s a great book for imaginative children and people who love horses. I liked the ending because he got to buy a farm and keep the talking horse. I didn’t like it when Mr Mudge died or that Jack’s mum was in prison. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Elena, Year 4
‘Funny with a scoop of giggles on top’
This book is funny with a scoop of giggles on top. It is also exciting, with a couple of sad moments. I would recommend it for children aged 7-12. My favourite character was Mr Mudge, who was funny and kind. Jack Sampson is the main character; he is cheeky and daring but has had an upsetting life. So I was really pleased that he found his happy ending.
Olivia, Year 4
‘This book is perfect entertainment’
It’s a whole other world! I think lots of children would like this story, with its talking animals and fun characters. This book is perfect entertainment, especially with the funny illustrations. You will not want to put this down once you start it – I didn’t!
Edward, Year 3
‘Brilliant Boadicea keeps a big secret’
I really enjoyed this book. It was hilarious. There is a smelly uncle who doesn’t care about Jack, and Jack’s poor mother is locked up. Jack’s friend Mr Mudge is an old man with two horses (Lightning and, best of all, the brilliant Boadicea). She kept a big secret from Jack – she could talk! Unfortunately there are some sad moments but that is what makes this story so fantastic.
Beth, Year 4
‘One very moody horse – and a happy ending’
This fun-packed adventure is very funny and enjoyable for ages 7-10 years. My favourite character was Boadicea because she can talk and is very moody. It does contain some sad moments but it does have a happy ending. I would give it 5/5 stars.
Amelia, Year 4
‘Jack’s on a mission with his animal friends’
A small boy called Jack runs away from his Aunt Violet and stinky Uncle Ted and meets a talking horse. His mission is to prove his mum’s (who is in prison for a crime she claims she did not commit) innocence, with the help of his friends from the animal kingdom. I really liked it when the animals told Jack that they let humans think that they are in control.
Samuel, Year 5