J is for Jack, the Appalachian Super-Hero
Jack is the hero of many an Appalachian tale, and come to that, may British and European tales too. As Hans (German and Norway), Ti Jean (French), Juan (Spanish), Ivan (Russia), and others, the "Jack" persona has been slaying dragons, tricking kings, wooing princesses and outwitting ogres for centuries. So he's a natural for this summer of hero tales, I think, and I am looking forward to telling his tales to audiences of all ages.
Because that's the thing about Jack: he charms, entertains and surprises adults and teens as easily as he does children. Men in particular are drawn in to the stories about this unlikely and ungainly boy, perhaps remembering their own days of outrageous adventures. Girls like Jack because he's funny, and because he often collaborates with girls in his adventures--and he seems to like them pretty well too, as he is always trying to win over some maiden or another.
So here's to Jack, a real super hero. May his adventures and exploits long live in the stories told about him by storytellers across the globe. This summer he will come alive in my programs for libraries. We'll be singing some old songs about Jack, playing out story parts with puppets and audience participation and having a fine time with these lively tales. I hope you will be in the audience somewhere along my trail.