Children's Literature - Phyllis KennemerElements of "Cinderella" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" are integrated into an original story. Jack's mother and Cinderella's stepmother are merged into one mean person. She sends Jack to sell the cow and orders Cinderella to prepare the gowns for the ball. Jack exchanges the cow for a magic bean which the evil stepsisters throw out the window. Jack and Cinderella climb the beanstalk where they find a giant fairy godmother. She transforms Cinderella and Jack drives the carriage to the ball. The prince is entranced and personally carries Cinderella's lost slipper in search of the owner. He recognizes Cinderella scrubbing the floor. The ugly sisters attempt to climb the beanstalk, but it crashes to the ground. The prince and Cinderella wed. Jack becomes the palace chef. The cartoonlike illustrations exaggerate the humorous aspects of the story. This distortion of two fairy tales may be confusing for the intended young audience. Children need a solid basis in traditional folk literature before being introduced to parodies. Mixing two tales together before youngsters are thoroughly familiar with the elements of each separately may prevent them from ever understanding the basic motifs and morals of either individual tale. This type of tinkering with fairy tales is more appropriate for middle school students than for beginning readers. Part of the "Tadpoles: Fairytale Jumbles" series. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
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