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Literature / Jacob Two-Two

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"I am the littlest in our family. Nobody hears what I say the first time. They only pay attention if I say things two times."
Jacob, Jacob Two-Two and The Dinosaur

Jacob Two-Two is the eponymous protagonist of a series of children's books created by the prolific Jewish-Canadian author Mordecai Richler. He is a young boy from Montreal, Quebec whose father is an accomplished author. He gets his nickname "Two-Two" because he often has to say things twice to be heard by his family, due to being the youngest of five children. But despite his runty status, Jacob always finds adventure to be had with his friends and around Montreal, from meeting famous wrestlers to befriending living dinosaurs.

The first book Jacob Two-Two meets The Hooded Fang was published in 1975. Two more books Jacob Two-Two and the Dinosaur (1987) and Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case (1995) were later published before Mordecai Richler died in 2001. However, a fourth book called Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas was released in 2009, which was conceived by Richler shortly before his death and completed by Cary Fagan with support from the Richler family.

There have also been a few adaptations of Richler's work. Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang has been adapted to film twice (pun not intended) in 1978 and then 1999. Additionally, an animated TV series produced by Nelvana loosely based on the books debuted in 2003 on YTV, with the books even getting a republishing that same year with new illustrations to match the show's animation style.

The books provide examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: The children's prison island.
  • Arc Number: Why, two of course. Why, two of course. Jacob is two plus two plus two years old. He has two older brothers and two older sisters. He says everything twice, because as the littlest, nobody hears him the first time. He has two eyes and two arms and two arms and two legs and two feet and two shoes.
  • Author Avatar: Jacob's dad Morty is based on the creator.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of "Jacob Two-Two and the Dinosaur", Dippy is safe amongst his own kind, but now Jacob can never see him again and he's emotionally scarred for life.
  • Blindfolded Trip: Jacob is blindfolded for the very long trip to the prison.
  • A Boy and His X: In "Jacob Two-Two and the Dinosaur," Jacob befriends Dippy the dinosaur.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase - Used to title both the books and episodes of the animated series.
  • Dinner with the Boss: When Jacob asks why a little girl is in prison, he is told that her crime was that she broke out in measles on the day her father had invited the boss to dinner.
  • Foul Cafeteria Food: In Jacob Two-Two's First Spy Case, the new Evil Principal replaces the kindly cafeteria chef with Perfectly Loathsome Leo Louse, whose catering ranges from "watered-down ketchup soup" to "literally sawdust". It's ostensibly a cost-saving measure, but Jacob catches them pocketing the extra cash.
  • I Was Just Joking: What sets the plot to "Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang" in motion involves a grocery store worker jokingly asking a cop to arrest Jacob for his tendency to say things twice, with Jacob taking it seriously when the cop plays along as well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Hooded Fang is scary but turns out to be a kid at heart.
  • Kayfabe: Even after leaving the business, the Hooded Fang still acts out his persona of a Heel wrestler when serving as the warden for the children's island prison while keeping the nice, childlike aspect of himself a secret.
  • Long List: The various means of transport needed to reach the prison.
  • Prisoner's Last Meal: In Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang, Jacob is sentenced to a children's prison overseen by the Hooded Fang. At one point, the Hooded Fang vows to personally bring Jacob his last meal (Although it's not stated what it is) before feeding him to two hungry sharks.
  • Tracking Device: In "Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang", the Fearless O'Toole and the Intrepid Shapiro provide Jacob with one in an attempt to find the location of the children's prison island.
  • Verbal Tic: Jacob's signature habit of repeating words.

Alternative Title(s): Jacob Two Two Meets The Hooded Fang