Fee-fi-fo-fum, this post-fairy tale/tall tale is just humdrum. Birdseye (Airmail to the Moon) employs some awkward contrivances ("Jack and his mama... hopped on a boat to America") to move this Jack and the Beanstalk continuation to a colorful homey setting in North Carolina. The late giant's big brother shows up on U.S. shores, too, eager to retrieve the coins, harp and hen that lays golden eggs, which he believes are rightly his. Jack and his mother plan to outwit the giant using some good Southern cooking, though the mangy guy fights back in a goofy development involving smelly feet. Kids may love the raucous mountain phrases tossed around and the silly crescendo here, but Birdseye's forced story line and descriptions never really gel. Hillenbrand's (The Last Snake in Ireland) mixed media artwork (crayon, colored pencil, oil) on the other hand, soars. He captures the rambunctious nature of the author's premise, all the while depicting Jack as a sweet-faced kid with more than a few tricks up his sleeve. The details Jack's ramshackle home, the rolling mountains and a pair of putrid green giant feet (cracked toenails and all) supply the comedy. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The happy ending after Jack cuts down the beanstalk is only the beginning of a new Jack tale. For the giant's big brother follows Jack and his mother to America, eager for revenge, and with his own rhythmic chants to shake the windows. But clever Jack manages to outwit the giant after a close call, and to have some fun with the reader while doing it. Hillenbrand's mixed media, double-page scenes illuminate the narrative while adding many comic detailsa flower-smelling skunk, Jack's mother hiding in the outhouse, and more. The lighthearted use of tints of color and fluency of line fill the pages with action to match the lively text. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Gr 1-4-In this rollicking sequel to "Jack and the Beanstalk," the giant is dead, but his big brother is out for revenge. The boy and his mother hightail it to the mountains of North Carolina and settle down. Mr. Giant ("twice the size of the little one, ten times as nasty, and as ugly as slug pie") doesn't let a little thing like distance get in his way. It's a close call but Jack takes command of the situation and the angry Mr. G. stomps so hard that the mountain falls in and swallows him up. Hillenbrand captures the spirit of the text with lively, humor-filled illustrations done in a variety of media including pencils, inks, tempera, crayons, and oils. "Wham blam hickity hack!"-readers will love this tale about Jack.-Janie Schomberg, Leal Elementary School, Urbana, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Clever Jack of English folklore has stolen the hen that lays golden eggs, the harp that sings, and bags of money. He has slain the giant who followed him down the beanstalk and lived happily ever after-not. In this fractured tale there is more to the story. Jack has sailed to America with his mother and the aforementioned purloined objects. All is well as they settle on a nice little farm in the mountains of North Carolina and "Life was good and peaceful, and oh so fragrant." When the giant's older brother arrives on the mountaintop, the story leaps into action. Birdseye's (The Eye of the Stone, not reviewed, etc.) folksy style of storytelling uses an American vernacular full of tall-tale exaggerations and dramatic page turns. Jack has a plan to distract the giant from eating him by overfeeding him. And feed him he does-piles of fried chicken, heaps of boiled okra, one thousand biscuits, six hundred pounds of mashed potatoes and huge heaps of coleslaw. Chased with ninety-nine gallons of apple cider. The giant is so close to puking he can't even move, let alone grab clever Jack. Kids will revel in the gross pictures and the equally disgusting belching and the giant's secret weapon, stinky feet. Hillenbrand's (Pre-School to the Rescue, p. 338, etc.) mixed media, illustrations-tempera, colored pencils, crayon, and oil paint on vellum-create an a soft almost marbleized palate of spring greens and changing skies. Great fun. (Picture book 5-8)