Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Jack Tales

The Jack Tales

4.8 5
by Richard Chase, Herbert Halpert (Compiler), R. M. Ward (Retold by)

See All Formats & Editions

A collection of folk tales from the southern Appalachians that center on a single character, the irrepressible Jack.


A collection of folk tales from the southern Appalachians that center on a single character, the irrepressible Jack.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Grandparents can be great storytellers, too, and the aptly titled Grandfather Tales: American-English Folk Tales, edited by Richard Chase, illus. by Berkeley Williams Jr. (first published in 1948), collects folk stories and tall tales handed down for generations. Although many originated in England, they have taken on a distinct American flavor. Familiar backcountry characters include Sody Sallyraytus and Old Dry Frye. The Jack Tales: Folk Tales from the Southern Appalachians (1943), also edited by Chase, illus. by Williams, captures 18 folk tales about Jack, well known to children from Jack and the Beanstalk (here known as "Jack and the Bean Tree"). Williams's occasional pen-and-ink drawings add to the handsome package. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Humor, freshness, colorful American background, and the use of one character as a central figure in the cycle mark these eighteen folktales, told here in the dialect of the mountain country of North Carolina." Booklist, ALA

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Richard Chase collected The Jack Tales in the mountain country of North Carolina, where they have been handed down for generations. Everyone knows the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. This book contains eighteen stories about Jack, many of them still completely new to the average reader. And what adventures Jack has! Noted American folklorist Richard Chase (1904–1988) has been called the man “most responsible for the renaissance of Appalachian storytelling.” A collector of tales that had been handed down from generation to generation in the Appalachian regions of the United States, Chase was born in Alabama and lived in the mountains of North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Jack Tales 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GrandMary More than 1 year ago
My son loved this book & so do my grandchildren. If I read to them at bedtime, I find them reading it the next day. A classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i like this book a lot it is one of my favorite books
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!