Cover image for Jazper
Egielski, Richard.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollinsPublishers, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
While watching a house for five menacing moths, Jaz, an industrious young bug, teaches himself how to transform into various other things and then must use this talent to save himself.
General Note:
"A Laura Geringer book."
Reading Level:
AD 410 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 1 Quiz: 13214 Guided reading level: O.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



The Amazing Jazper, as he prefers to be called, is pretty proud of himself -- while house-sitting for some evil moths, he read their books of magic spells and learned how to transmorph. He is now his own sideshow, and charges the other bugs in Bugtown money to see him change into a crayon, a bubble, even a cheese doodle, all to great applause. But the moths are Not amused, and decide they must rid themselves of the competition. What follows is a morph war that moves at breakneck speed -- Jazper does his famous sour pickle, and the moths show up as knives. He turns into a nut, and the moths become nutcrackers. Can Jazper outwit the evil moths? Will he give up magic forever? Does water put out fire?

Author Notes

Illustrator, Richard Egielski was born in New York City on July 16, 1952. He studied at Parson's School of Design. He also studied the art of picture books with Maurice Sendak.

He was the winner of the 1987 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks. He wrote and illustrated Buz and Jazper which were chosen as New York Times Best Illustrated Books for Children. Other books illustrated by Egielski include The Tub People and The Tub Grandfather by Pam Conrad.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. Jazper and his dad--who are bugs, by the way--live in a rented eggshell on the south side of Bugtown. All's swell until there is an accident at the tomato plant, and Dad breaks three of his four legs. To help pay the rent, plucky Jazper gets a job house-sitting for five weird moths. Turns out their shelves are filled with books of tricks and magic. Jazper reads them, and before you can say "presto, changeo," he becomes a magician specializing in transformation (he makes a terrific-looking cheese doodle). The moths are miffed, to put it mildly, and decide to put the lad--er, bug--out of showbiz . . . permanently. Has Jazper learned enough magic to save himself? Suffice it to say that the real magic in this book is not the rather tame story but Egielski's art, instead. Evoking animated cartoons of the thirties, his energetic, drolly imaginative pictures are filled with details that delight the eye and tickle the rib. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this quirky tale of a miniature Bugtown, Egielski (The Gingerbread Boy) pictures talking insects and a twinge of magic. Jazper is a green boy-insect with a pointy Pinocchio nose and bright, wide eyes. He uses his top two digits as arms and walks on his other four legs. He and his father live in "a rented eggshell on the south side of Bugtown," while their neighbors occupy single tin cans and high-rise cereal boxes. The trouble begins when Dad gets injured on the job, and Jazper sets out to make some money with a job house-sitting for "five weird moths" (they wear white robes and resemble samurai warriors). While the moths are away, Jazper reads their sorcery tomes and learns to perform magical transformations. Three weeks later, the moths return and Jazper tries his luck as a street performer, changing himself into a skinny sky-blue crayon or a fat pickle. Although the moths never forbade Jazper to borrow from their library, they somehow are angered by his feats and come after him with a vengeance. All the action is well realized visually. Egielski, like William Joyce, borrows from early animation and uses punchy color in the foreground, hazier shades in the distance. In the fantasy metropolis, a girl mosquito flits through the air, a caterpillar hogs the road and commuting beetles sit aboard a dragonfly's long tail. With this fabulous backdrop, Egielski doesn't require such a convoluted plot. His lackluster story seems only a frame for his singularly evocative images. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-When Jazper's dad is laid up from an accident at the tomato plant and is out of work, his resourceful son, a baseball-cap-wearing green bug, heads "uptown to seek his fortune." Egielski's city is an entomological fantasyland where insects wear suits or skirts (and shoes on four or more feet) and the commuter train consists of seats on the back of a colorful dragonfly. Jazper gets a job house-sitting for some spooky-looking moths who sport skulls on their wings. These ominous, gray lepidoptera happen to be versed in the dark arts and maintain a home library full of tricks for performing feats of magic transformations. Jazper, a voracious reader, seizes this opportunity to put cash in the family coffer by becoming the Amazing Jazper, transforming himself into a cheese doodle, a crayon, a pickle, and even a bubble. His lucrative sideshow comes to an abrupt halt, however, when the moths realize that he stole their tricks and pay him a visit. Then it becomes a classic folktale confrontation where wits eventually prevail. Egielski has shown that he is capable of anthropomorphizing virtually anything, e.g., the attacking salamis in Louis the Fish (1986) or the avian menagerie in Hey, Al (1986, both Farrar). Here, Main Street takes on a buggy personality sure to appeal to youngsters growing up on surreal dollops of Dr. Seuss, William Joyce, Daniel Kirk, William Steig, and earlier Egielski.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.