Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Clever Jack Takes the Cake” as Want to Read:
Clever Jack Takes the Cake
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Clever Jack Takes the Cake

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,879 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews
Take a bite out of this deliciously funny original fairy tale, which received four starred reviews and was named a Best Book of the Year by Booklist, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and the Bank Street College of Education.

What would you do if you were invited to the princess’s tenth birthday party but didn’t have money for a gift? Well, clever Jack decides to bak
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Schwartz & Wade
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

SPOILERS AHEAD! ....and ranting too.


Rating, 2.5 (looking at the other reviews, I'm in a minority here ... or maybe the only one)

Jack is a young boy living with his mother. One day he receives the invitation for the princess’s tenth birthday party, along with every other child in the kingdom. Of course, if you attend a birthday party, you shouldn't go empty handed. This proves a bit of a problem as Jack is dirt-poor. Their only belongings are a spinning wheel, an axe, and a threadbare quilt, but
Apr 25, 2016 Amber rated it it was amazing
A young boy named Jack is invited to the princess's 10th birthday party and decides to make her a cake to give to her on her birthday. On the way bad things start to happen. Will he be able to make it to give her the cake? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good children's picture book that I borrowed from the overdrive ebooks library. Be sure to look for this book at your local library and wherever books are sold if you enjoy picture books.
Tricia Douglas
Feb 24, 2013 Tricia Douglas rated it it was amazing
What would you bring to the birthday party of a princess if you had no money? This is a delightful story about Jack and what he does bring in this circumstance. What I liked best was what happened when Jack's plans were changed and fate stepped in with the worse possible situations. A very happy book which gives children a chance to see how situations can turn out wonderful even when your own plans might be quite different.
Sarah Wheeland
Jan 20, 2014 Sarah Wheeland rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Read-aloud opening for third grade:

“Boys and girls, imagine you are planning out a project or surprise for someone and you know it is going to be the absolute best thing you have ever thought up! You think about every detail and plan each part so it will be absolutely perfect. When the time comes, your project starts out just like you imagined it would but then things start to go very wrong and in the end it is nothing like you thought it would be. Has this ever happened to you?”

Pause and wait f
Lindsay Surmeier
Jun 12, 2015 Lindsay Surmeier rated it liked it
“The book we are going to read today is Clever Jack Takes the Cake (show cover). What do you think it means to take the cake? (children respond). It could mean to take the cake physically in your hands, but it can also mean to go above and beyond the others. Which of these means do you think apply to this book? (children respond). Do you think both could apply? (children respond). This book does not take place in the present either. This book is a fantasy book and takes place in a medieval time ...more
Jun 20, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit
I'd have given this 3 stars, but my 5 yr. old son adored it and it makes sense to take a child's reaction into account when rating a child's book. Jack overcomes dangers and hardships to deliver an ever-diminishing birthday gift to the princess. Throughout, he is brave, resourceful, and plucky. His complete lack of self-pity and despair are subtly conveyed and perhaps only readily apparent to adult readers -- this is no dreary, moralistic tale! Children will enjoy the drama as Jack meets each ...more
Oct 23, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
An enjoyable variant on the folklore quest tale. I liked so many of the little touches: such as Jack making a cake (as opposed to whittling a doodad, or whatever), and doing it quite well; the candle that appears instead of a lightbulb over his head when he has an idea; his glass-half-full attitude; the flower girl running around the throne room having the time of her life; some of the phrases; the way the little forest animals are all lined up at the edge of the page watching Jack go by himself ...more
Oct 31, 2010 Reader rated it it was amazing
When a book is hitting all cylinders, it's a beautiful thing, that's what we have here. Outstanding storytelling and illustration. Jack Takes the Cake is a succulent gem that highlights a resourceful boy on his quest to deliver a birthday cake to the princess.
I see two main themes here - resourcefulness and the value of a good story, which is hard to deny.
Fleming's text is excellent - descriptive, with a good amount of repetition.
The illustrations enhance the story. Examining the endpapers provi
Mar 14, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: child-at-heart
Candace Fleming used the Clever Jack template to launch a a completely refreshing and new story. Jack broke through some gender role walls by baking a cake decorated with walnuts and a succulent red strawberry for the princess, but the main message that genuine human interaction is worth more than rubies or tiaras can't be heard too many times by the little princesses of the world. Some picture books with this amount of text won't hold the attention of a group of children, but this story had the ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Tiffany rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book can be for a boy or a girl. The grade can be a 1st grader or higher. The book is a good read because this boy name Jack has no money,but comes up with a idea that he will make something for the princess instead of buying something because he does not have any money for any present. So Jack makes a cake for the princess, but on the way he came upon some problems and when he ends up with coming to the princess's party. He told her of what happened to his gift and the princess liked his ...more
We are every bit as charmed by Jack as the princess!
The children of the land are all invited to the Princess's birthday party. Poor Jack is stumped as to what to give the Princess and decided to splurge on a cake!
As he proudly travels to the castle with the wonderful cake he is beset on all sides by plundering animals and even palace guards (shocking, really!). When he greets the Princess who is surrounded by heaps of presents all Jack can offer is the tale of the cake and its travels. Lovely.

Jan 19, 2015 Margaux rated it it was amazing
In this story, Jack bakes a cake for the princess's birthday. A fine gift, to be sure. The problems arise when he journeys to the castle to give her her cake. Along the way he meets four-and-twenty black birds, a dancing bear, an ogre, and a scary forest. He starts to lose parts of his cake, the poor dear! What will he ever do? What can he give the princess now?
Sep 22, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
If you can get over the unfairness of the 99% being asked to contribute to the overprivileged 1%, this is a pretty adorable tale of a young boy's attempt to take a special, homemade cake to a princess's birthday party. (view spoiler)

Heather Pool
This book can be for any gender, and they can be in second or third grade, the reading is paragraphs per page. It is an adventure story that has very elaborate pictures. It has a sequence to it so kids may know and get excited for what's coming next. This book is a 2012 Golden Sower Nominee.
Clever Jack Takes the Cake is a unique fairy tale that delights with--you guessed it--cleverness! Children will adore the predictable pattern and enjoy the hijinx that Jack encounters on the way to the Princess' birthday party, but the happily ever after will make them smile.
Feb 29, 2016 Trevor rated it it was amazing
My four year old gives this one 21 stars. I'd have to agree. What a wonderful story, and such lovely illustrations.
Jan 05, 2011 stillme rated it really liked it
A fun fairy tale that feels familiar but fresh at the same time.
Feb 01, 2011 Rshogren rated it really liked it
I think kids will like this orginal fairy tale! Illustrations could have been bigger.
Rachel Bormann
Audience: Primary

Genre: "Clever Jack Takes the Cake" is considered part of the traditional literature genre. Within this category, however, the story satisfies aspects of both the fairytales and tall tales sub-genres. "Clever Jack Takes the Cake" fits into the fairytale category since it revolves around the kingdom's princess's birthday party and her desire for a unique birthday present. The story fits into the tall tales category of literature because despite Jack's poverty, he manages to bake
Richie Partington
Jul 23, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
8 July 2010 CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE by Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas, ill., Schwartz & Wade, August 2010, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-84979-4

"Down the long narrow hall he was led
Into her rooms with her tapestries red
And she never once took the crown from her head
She asked him there to sit down.
He said, 'I see you now, and you are so very young
But I've seen more battles lost than I have battles won
And I've got this intuition, says it's all for your fun
And now will you tell me why?'"
-- Suzan
Nov 12, 2016 Shelly rated it really liked it
Cute story. Jack gives the princess the best gift even when he thinks he has nothing to give.
Mollie B
Oct 03, 2016 Mollie B rated it it was amazing
YHBA nominee from a few years ago. It makes sense! It's a cute story about Jack and his cake adventure.
Oct 21, 2012 Theresa rated it liked it
Shelves: kernbookreviews
When Jack in Clever Jack Takes the Cake, by Candace Fleming is invited to the princess’s tenth birthday party, he does not know what to do. Jack is a poor boy living far away from the castle. With no money for a gift, Jack uses what he has to make a scrumptious cake. The problem is taking the cake to the castle. On his way through a prairie, over a bridge, and through scary woods, Jack meets many animals and creatures who agree that his cake looks delicious. So delicious, in fact, that they ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Shel rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Fleming, C. & Karas, G.B. (2010). Clever Jack Takes the Cake. New York: Random House.

Appetizer: Jack, along with all the other children in the kingdom, has been invited to the princess's tenth birthday party. Since he doesn't have any riches to offer as a gift, he decides to bake the princess a cake. But on the way to the castle, Jack encounters some trouble. So much trouble that he can't be certain he'll arrive with the cake in hand or even arrive at all.

At the beginning of the story, Jack
Jul 10, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Audience: Primary

Genre: Picture Book

Pre-Reading Strategy: First Line

By reading the first line of a story, students make hypotheses about what the story will be about. Depending on the information given, students may be able to predict the setting, time, characters, potential conflict, or other story elements. Engaging in a discussion with the students allows the students to detail how and why they predicted the outcomes that they chose. Students are likely to remain attentive and focused on the
Sep 09, 2010 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The creators of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! return with a delightful fairy tale. Jack is invited to the princess’ tenth birthday but has nothing to fine enough for a present. But then Jack has a great idea, he will bake her a birthday cake. He didn’t have enough money to buy ingredients, so he had to trade for them, work for them, or make them on his own. Finally it was finished. Two cake layers, frosting, ten candles, walnuts and a big strawberry. Jack sets off to the party, but his way is not ...more
Samantha Jorgens
Mar 29, 2016 Samantha Jorgens rated it it was amazing
In the children’s book, Clever Jack Takes the Cake, Candace Fleming describes a hilarious journey that Jack embarks on when going to the castle for the princess’s tenth birthday party. Jack does not have any money, so he decides to bake a cake by trading things for the ingredients. He starts his adventure to the castle with his cake in hand, but runs into trouble with a troll, a gypsy, and a bear. He ends up only being able to give the princess a fantastic story, which was the best present that ...more
Jean Marie
Feb 26, 2015 Jean Marie rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful children's book for children 6-9 years old. This is a story about a boy named Jack who gets invited to the Princess's birthday party. He works to gather up ingredients he needs to make her a cake. He works very hard to gather up these items, including trading seeds for eggs, picking a bunch of walnuts, and picking the juiciest strawberry he can find. Children could connect with this story if they have ever cooked or baked with their families and the effort they have put into ...more
Kacy Sutton
“Clever Jack Takes the Cake” is a about a boy who is very poor. One day he finds an invitation from the King to the Princess’ tenth birthday party. Jack does not think he can go though because he has no money to buy her a gift and he has nothing of value to give her. Then he realizes he has all of the things he needs to make the Princess a lovely birthday cake. He prepares this amazing cake, but on his long journey to the Princess’ castle the cake gets destroyed and eaten by various things along ...more
Sunday Cummins
Mar 20, 2011 Sunday Cummins rated it really liked it
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3 A poor boy named Jack who helps a princess is a familiar trope in folklore. In this original tale, Jack accidentally receives an invitation to the princess's birthday party. He resourcefully gathers ingredients and bakes a wonderful cake. On his way to the castle, the cake is slowly demolished by crows, a troll, a spooky forest, a dancing bear, and even a palace guard, until the only present Jack has to offer
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Chicken Big
  • Ruth and the Green Book
  • A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea
  • Postcards from Camp
  • Scarum Fair
  • Thunder Birds: Nature's Flying Predators
  • Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia
  • Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated
  • Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes
  • Flora's Very Windy Day
  • Brontorina
  • Same, Same But Different
  • Dust Devil
  • Me and You
  • Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
  • Play, Louis, Play!: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn
  • Jangles: A Big Fish Story
  • Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)
I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good st
More about Candace Fleming...

Share This Book