Friday, March 13, 2015

Jasper John Dooley: You're In Trouble, by Caroline Adderson, illustrated by Ben Clanton

Jasper John Dooley doesn't mean to be Bad.  But once he took a taste of the Bad drink after soccer practice, he couldn't help himself.  In the fourth book of Caroline Adderson's Jasper John Dooley series, You're In Trouble, Jasper accidentally gets his hands on a Torpedo High Energy Drink instead of the apple juice he selected.  Suddenly Jasper has more energy than ever, and he finds the thrill strangely addicting.

After a few sips, he hides the can in the back of the fridge.  Over the next couple of days, he sneaks sips.  He keeps coming back to it, even though he knows he shouldn't.  One morning when his dad asked him to get the milk, he tries to avoid it, knowing he would give in to temptation.  "If he opened the fridge, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from checking if the Torpedo High Energy Drink was still there. . . . He didn't want to drink it.  He didn't like that Bad drink anymore.  But he wouldn't be able to stop himself."

You're In Trouble is a crack-up.  I was laughing out loud as he got himself into all kinds of trouble.  On a deeper level, Jasper teaches kids that our actions have consequences.  As he tries to get himself out of trouble, or cover up what he's gotten himself into, sometimes he just makes it worse.  On an even deeper level, Jasper teaches all of us the dangers of addiction and the importance of fleeing temptation.  How many compulsions cause us to make horrible decisions?  And how many times to we put ourselves into a position where the temptations overcome us?

Hopefully Jasper learned his lesson about the Bad drink, and will think twice before submitting to the lure of Even Worse drinks and other Bad stuff that can wreck our lives.  In the meantime, I got a good laugh out of Jasper's antics.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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