Another book review! This one is a fun middle grade twist on the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, intertwined with Jack the Giant Slayer. JACK: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff caught my eye while browsing through my local bookstore and I couldn’t help but grab it. Read on to find out more!
Jack has always been told that giants are not real. But if that’s the case, how do you explain the huge, foot shaped pond in the yard, or the occurrence of strange and sudden storms in which the earth quakes and dirt rains from the sky? When his father is carried away in such a storm, Jack gives chase in the only logical way: by trading the family cow for some magic beans that will give him access to a land beyond the clouds. He arrives to find that the giants themselves have giant-sized troubles. With the help of an overachieving little sister, a magic goose and a chatty cook (who is not interested in grinding human bones into bread, thank you very much!) Jack sets out to save his dad and save the day.
The Short: 5 out of 5 stars
The Long: This was a super fun read! Directed at middle grade, the author did a fantastic job of bringing the fun to a MG level, but kept it interesting enough that I didn’t grow bored. This tale is quite different than anything you might remember. With additional cast members – Jack has a sister that follows him up the stalk! – a giant world plagued by pixies, and an interesting idea on why the giants visited the land below in the first place – think gold! – this narrative is not just a story about Jack’s trip above to save his father, it’s stocked with unlikely relationships and lessons for Jack to learn that he didn’t realize needed learning. It was a nice surprise to see other nursery rhyme characters woven within the story, and I got the feeling that there might be appearances from them in her other fairytale novels.
I enjoyed this novel so much that I can’t wait to read Ms. Shurtliff’s additional novels, Rump and Red. (I’ll be you can guess which fairytale characters those are about!) If you know a middle grade reader, this would make a fantastic gift. Or just a fun read for yourself! *wink, wink*
Happy reading, friends!