Giant and the Beanstalk

Overview

For a giant, Otto is embarrassingly polite. While all the other giants are studying Cursing, Growling, and Stomping, Otto just wants to play with his pet hen, Clara. Then one terrible day a wily human named Jack climbs up a magic beanstalk and steals her away! Knowing only the thief's name, Otto must find Clara and rescue her from the land of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The only problem is, there seem to be an awful lot of Jacks down there....

Diane Stanley, author and ...

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Overview

For a giant, Otto is embarrassingly polite. While all the other giants are studying Cursing, Growling, and Stomping, Otto just wants to play with his pet hen, Clara. Then one terrible day a wily human named Jack climbs up a magic beanstalk and steals her away! Knowing only the thief's name, Otto must find Clara and rescue her from the land of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The only problem is, there seem to be an awful lot of Jacks down there....

Diane Stanley, author and illustrator of goldie and the three bears and rumpelstiltskin's daughter, once again brings a fresh vision to a beloved story. Readers will delight in recognizing their favorite Jacks as Otto travels throughout the kingdom to find Clara. With great humor and beautiful illustrations, Diane Stanley creates a satisfying tale in which Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, and Otto all live happily ever after.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stanley (Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter) once again cleverly contorts a familiar tale, here focusing not on Jack but on the giant from whom he purloins a beloved pet. Otto, a young giant with sharp teeth, beady eyes and claw-like nails, looks quite ferocious. Yet he is "embarrassingly polite" and selects as a pet a sweet hen named Clara-who just happens to lay golden eggs-instead of the fierce critters his parents and peers favor. Stanley thus allows youngsters to sympathize with Otto, who is understandably devastated when Jack appears seemingly out of nowhere, grabs Clara and disappears ("It was the single worst moment in Otto's life"). Otto shouts, "Fee, fi, fo, fum" because it's "the scariest thing he could remember from fourth-grade Threats and Curses." Though he suffers from vertigo, the determined giant discovers the beanstalk and pursues the thief. In a lively sequence, Otto searches a fairytale land of mountains and thatched-roof houses as he encounters, among others, a candlestick-jumping Jack, a Jack who tumbles down a hillside with his sister, Jill, and a lean Mr. Sprat grilling steak and celery. Full-bleed spreads of the nursery characters heighten the humor, and an inset angelic portrait of the giant, clipping his nails and donning a flower crown so as not to scare the townsfolk, will especially tickle youngsters. Not surprisingly, the story leads up to a felicitous finale, but the twists and turns readers takes along the way make this tale as original as Stanley fans have come to expect. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
As a companion to her other folktale spinoffs, Rumplestiltskin's Daughter and Goldie and the Three Bears, Stanley revisits the giant who owned the golden-egg-laying hen which Jack, of beanstalk fame, stole. Only this giant is a mild youngster, entirely misunderstood by his giant peers, and simply crazy about his pet hen. When he climbs down the beanstalk to retrieve his pet, Jack's mother says he's gone looking for their white cow because Jack loved it so. So the giant searches through numerous Jacks before he finds the right one, trades the found cow to get his hen back, and goes home. Young readers familiar with nursery rhymes (an increasingly smaller group, it seems) will knowingly nod as one Jack leaps a candlestick, another tumbles down a hill to land at the Giant's feet, and another skinny one who eats barbequed celery, not a steak or buttered sandwich, to name a few. Stanley helpfully appends the five rhymes the text refers to. Cheerful depictions of the jagged-toothed giant and oversize pictures with text boxed allow story hour listeners to see the action and humor. Older children will appreciate the references and the way this author, like others, blends allusions into an overall story. It is fun to read and pair with the original folktale, or other spinoffs of the "Jack and the Beanstalk" story such as tales by Raymond Briggs, Steven Kellogg, Tony Ross, and Mary Pope Osborne. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 9.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Despite his fearsome appearance, Otto, a young giant who lives in a magical kingdom high above the human world, is gentle and polite. When his beloved pet chicken is stolen by the human Jack, he descends the beanstalk to try and retrieve her. After being misdirected to every other nursery-rhyme Jack in town, Otto finally finds the culprit. The giant realizes that the boy only wanted to sell Clara so that he could retrieve his own lost pet, Milky White the cow, and the two find a way to retrieve their adored animals. All ends happily as the other giants recognize Otto's heroic qualities, and Jack and his mother open a roadside stand to sell soup mix, made, of course, from beans. While the sharp satire and social commentary that ran throughout Stanley's Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter (HarperCollins, 1997) are missing here, the point-of-view reversal is amusing and the plot and characters are nicely developed. The watercolor illustrations depict a cozy, bucolic fairy-tale world and are replete with humorous details. This is a worthy addition to the growing canon of fractured fairy tales.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Stanley has again managed an inspired spin on an old fairy tale, telling Jack and the Beanstalk from the not-so-fierce and much-teased giant Otto's point of view. (A mediocre student of curses and threats, he's chosen a common hen over a pet dragon.) Otto must swallow his fear of heights to save his kidnapped pet and buy back Jack's pet cow. But which Jack? One jumps over a candlestick; another rolls down a hill; a skinny third cooks with his plump wife and a young Jack messily eats a pie. The last Jack he encounters is busy building a house and happens to be the new owner of the cow. Otto buys her, finally finds the right Jack, and the two trade pets. Jack and his mother now earn a living selling bean-soup mix, and all the other giants wish to emulate Otto. Stanley's detailed illustrations will hit the mark with youngsters, who will search for clues as to which "Jack" the giant has met. The answers appear on the final page. A must for all fractured-fairytale collections. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060000103
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/17/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 779,917
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Cup and the Crown; Saving Sky, winner of the Arab American Museum's Arab American Book Award and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year; Bella at Midnight, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine; and A Time Apart.

Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Cup and the Crown; Saving Sky, winner of the Arab American Museum's Arab American Book Award and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year; Bella at Midnight, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine; and A Time Apart.

Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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