Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

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Age Range
8+
Release Date
April 14, 2015
ISBN
978-0385755795
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Fans of Chris Colfer and Ella Enchanted will give a GIANT cheer for this funny fairytale retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk! All his life, Jack has longed for an adventure, so when giants turn up in the neighbor's cabbage patch, he is thrilled! Soon Jack is chasing them to a land beyond the clouds, with his little sister, Annabella, in tow. The kingdom of giants is full of super-sized fun: puddings to swim in, spoons to use as catapults, monster toads to carry off pesky little sisters. . . . But Jack and Annabella are on a mission. The king of the giants has taken something that belongs to them, and they’ll do anything—even dive into a smelly tureen of green bean soup—to get it back.

Editor review

1 review
Entertaining story and memorable cast of characters
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
While I love fairy tale retellings, I haven’t read many about Jack and the Beanstalk. This take on the tale by Liesl Shurtliff does a wonderful spin on the original (plus some parts of Jack the Giant Killer). The voice stands out as my favorite part of the novel. Jack’s narration is clear, humorous, and on point with the sort of hero complex young boys are presented with. With a strong amount of action and adventure, Jack’s story flies by as the reader discoveries what really happened with the giants and that magical hen.

The plot builds beautifully with strong scenes both on Jack’s land and in the giants’ kingdom. I wasn’t hooked on the story the entire time, but there is a nice balance of action and transition. The cast of secondary characters in the village adds spice to the story, and the sub-plot with Tom is sweet and fun. There are also hints of other fairy tales among this one as the plot unfolds, and it is interesting seeing how some connect.

While readers can easily enjoy the story at a surface level, I love some of the interesting mentions of undercurrent issues from the effects of greed to family relationships, even potentially an environmental insight. This makes the novel a good choice for either a light-hearted or a deeper read, depending on how much thought you give.

Fans of fairy tale retellings won’t be disappointed with Liesl Shurtliff’s Jack. The compelling voice and memorable characters make this a read I would highly recommend to fans of The Sisters Grimm and Chris Colfer.
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