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|Jack in the Giants' Newground||1|
|Jack and the Bull||19|
|Jack and the Bean Tree||29|
|Jack and the Robbers||38|
|Jack and the North West Wind||46|
|Jack and the Varmints||58|
|Big Jack and Little Jack||67|
|Jack and the King's Girl||83|
|Fill, Bowl! Fill!||89|
|Old Fire Dragaman||106|
|Jack and the Doctor's Girl||114|
|Cat 'n Mouse!||127|
|Jack and King Marock||135|
|Jack's Hunting Trips||151|
|The Heifer Hide||161|
|Appendix and Parallels||181|
Posted June 18, 2013
“The Jack Tales” is a combination of short stories that were passed down by the descendants within the Council Harmon (1803-1896) family. They lived in the Beech Mountain area of North Carolina and the southern mountains. Three of the stories are known to have come from family in Wise County, Virginia. The tales were relayed to Richard Chase (1904-1988) who was best known for renaissance of Appalachian storytelling. Born in Alabama and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, he was known to have a style in which he would combine scholarly research to obtain the origins of the stories and in keeping with the tradition when editing them he ensured they were relayed as they would have been years ago, which was spontaneously. The stories are a collection that is unmatched in their message of Jack’s adventures usually told through his dreams. The author in this collection takes you on a journey with Jack, who is just an American boy living in and around the southern mountains of America. I learned the stories when I was challenged by a teacher to read something different. I have since found my very own copy and at least once a school season try and go sit and share the stories with children of all ages. Several of those that have sat through the reading have went out and gotten their own copy of the book. The stories are capable of reaching and motivating even those that find reading boring and time consuming.
“Jack and the Beanstalk” is what comes to mind when you hear that the stories you will be hearing or reading because most parents and grandparents will tell their children or grandchildren the famous story of the boy who defeated the giant, as they tuck them into bed. The stories as told to Richard are one adventure after another and told through the dreams of Jack. Similar to the Br’er Rabbit or Spider Jamaican tales that were passed along in the African American culture the author makes a point to address the fact that the stories are the white equivalent of those figures in these European stories. Although “Jack and the Beanstalk” is a wonderful work of imaginary giant killing, it falls short on imagination when you compare them to the magical adventures that “The Jack Tales” and his many casts of characters will take you on. The stories are told to Richard by a descendent of Council Harmon, Mrs. Jane Gentry who was living at the time in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Reading the tales one can just imagine Mrs. Gentry sitting in a hand carved rocking chair on a creaking wooded run down porch with a million dollar view of the Appalachian Mountains as a back drop. The eighteen stories are all about Jack and life as he conquers giants with one, two, three, and four heads. In his quest each one so very different then the last, he meets and stands his ground with witches…, kings, magic bulls, and beautiful maidens in need of rescue.
Horn Book described the stories as, “Meat for the student of folklore as well as for the lover of tall tales.” There are a variety of cast that make the tales intriguing even beyond the tales that Jack is sharing with the readers. Naturally there are those in the mountains that hear of Jack adventures and say that they are the dreams and tall tales told by a boy without any real truth to them. Richard Chase will take you on the mountain where Jack ruled in his time and conquered the worst of evil and left a path of magical villains defeated through the skills and wit of Jack.
You will meet people like, Will and Tom in “Hardy Hardhead” as they fill a magical flying boat with such characters as, “Eatwell, Drinkwell, Runwell, Harkwell, and Seewell,” all in an attempt to save a beautiful maiden being held captive by an old witch, who will only release her if the suitor can complete certain tasks. Failure to succeed in successfully completing the challenge usually results in death.
The stories are suitable for kids of all ages and I am sure that adults that wish they could go back and capture the time in your life when reading was not always about that one plot and one action scene. The author use a cycle form of storytelling, where all the tales are exciting as they escape to adventures beyond reality but always begin and end with Jack being a normal farmer in plain everyday commonplace farms.
Posted December 4, 2008
Posted October 17, 2001
Posted May 6, 2000
I was twelve years old when I originally read this book as a school assignment four years ago, and it has left an indellible mark on me and my love of down-home Southern literature. This enthralling volume will win over any reader with Jack, the main character's colorful adventures, and unforgettable characters. This precocious, young boy lands in so many amusing situations, whether it be hot persuit of wild animals on the run, or getting entangled with a group of shady bandits. His escapades will keep anyone laughing right up to the last page! So sit yourself down, city boy and city gal, and enjoy a heapin' helpin' of The Jack Tales!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2010
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