Adopted by the evil Lord Bumblebee, Gentle Jack refuses to learn to be as wicked as the lord and his followers and escapes to an island where only goodness is known.--from the publisher
86 pages 978-0416085327 Ages 7-10 **************
Review from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova
"The great French novelist, memoirist, and playwright Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known as George Sand (July 1, 1804–June 8, 1876), set out to model a prescient antidote to a culture that rewards cynicism and selfishness over kindness and largeness of heart in her only children’s book, originally composed in 1851 but published in English for the first time in 1988, with stunning illustrations by the then-Soviet artist Gennady Spirin.
We meet Gentle Jack — the youngest of seven children, born to unkind, unscrupulous, and greedy parents who have managed to convert all the other children to their cynical worldview, except him. Instead, Gentle Jack has become the laughingstock of the family — his parents scorn him as too stupid, for he wouldn’t follow in their wicked ways, and his siblings tease and bully him, taking his boundless kindness for weakness.
Gentle Jack bears the abuse stoically. But he wishes from the bottom of his large, aching heart that his parents would love him as much as he loves them. Often, he takes his great sadness into the forest to find refuge by his favorite tree — an old, hollow oak hidden away by rocks and brambles."
"One day, after particularly brutal abuse at home, Gentle Jack lies weeping beneath his oak when something stings his arm. Sand writes:
He looked up and saw a huge bumblebee, which sat there without moving and stared at him in a most insolent fashion.
Jack took hold of the bee by its wings and gently placed it on the palm of his hand.
“Why did you hurt me, when I have done nothing to hurt you?” he asked. “Go on, fly away and be happy.”
After releasing the bee, Jack tends to his sting with some forest herbs and dozes off, only to awaken and discover in astonishment “a tall, fat gentleman dressed in black from head to toe, standing in front of him.”---from Maria Popova on Brain Pickings (To read her complete review see link above)