The Compulsive Reader: Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff

Jack has always loved hearing the tales his papa tells him of giants who live in the sky, and his great-great grandfather Jack the Giant Killer, whom he is named for. Jack believes in the stories more than anyone, and when strange thefts occur, he's quick to point the finger at the giants. But no one believes him--not even when the giants come down and steal his paper in front of his very eyes. So it's up to Jack to plant and climb a magical beanstalk and go and rescue his papa himself.

Liesl Shurtliff's book is fun and full of adventure and danger. She draws upon two different stories, Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer, to tell her own story. The two different inspiration texts also inspire get tension in her retelling. Are the giants inherently evil? Is Jack destined to be a giant killer like his ancestor, or a rescuer of his own kind? Jack grapples with these questions as his quest for his papa takes him all over the giant kingdom, where he discovers that other just like him (called elves by the giants) have been enslaved by the greedy giant king. In a fun twist, the giant king turns out to be the gold-loving king from Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, and it's Jack who discovers a way to save the kingdom from ruin at the hands of the greedy king by his constant meddling and curiosity. This retelling is smart and fast-paced, with just the right balance of silly and sweet.

Book purchased at my indie.

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