The episodic arcs have all the charm and whimsy of impromptu bedtime stories. The overlapping imaginative worlds delightfully blend water sprites, superpowers, and sentient computers; this mingling of science fiction and fantasy might not seem coherent at first glance, but it sparks imagination and helps to build independent tales. There is a retro feel to the plotting and writing, harkening back to mid-20th-century juvenile adventure books with daring escapes, clever plans, and quickly forgotten escapades. A handful of pen-and-ink illustrations give a tantalizing glimpse into Jimmy’s world.
There are obvious moral lessons in swift consequences for actions and Jimmy’s growing confidence as he finds acceptance, delivered with a light touch that’s appropriate for young readers. His keen insights predictably outshine the plans of adults, sometimes to a degree that adults will find outrageous but children will delight in. Briggs’s avuncular style lends itself well to reading aloud, and the self-contained stories make for perfectly bite-sized tales. Jimmy’s exploits are a charming, action-packed lark.
Takeaway: This lively collection of capers for younger children will find fans as a read-aloud with a nostalgic, improvisational feel.
Great for fans of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Doolittle, Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-