Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

This is a review for Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Jack is destined for greatness.  His papa knew it from the day he was born.  That is why he is named Jack, he is named for his great great great great great great great grandpa Jack the Giant Killer who killed nine giants.  Jack has never seen a giant.  No one he knows has ever seen a giant.  Giants are things in tales, or so Jack's mama is always telling him.  They live in a small village in the middle of no where and they have a small farm.  Jack loves tales of giants, he knows them all by heart and he is sure he is going to do something great just like his seven greats grandpa.

One day it rains dirt and Jack's whole village is taken away by giants.  Only his mama, his sister and him are left behind.  Mama doesn't believe him but Jack saw the giants take his papa and the rest of the village up into the sky.  Jack trades the families last cow to a traveling tinker for three beans and they grow into a beanstalk that reaches the sky.  Jack climbs up the beanstalk to rescue his papa.  He knows that he is going to on a grand adventure like his seven greats grandpa.  But what adventurer has his little sister tagging along?  And what can Jack do against giants big enough to carry him around in their pockets?  

I loved this book!  Jack is a very naughty boy but his heart is in the right place.  This story addresses many of the questions I had about Jack and the Beanstalk as a child.  Why do the giants come to our land? Are there other giant things up there besides the giants? Can a human really defeat a giant?  Jack has to find the answers to all of these questions and more.  He also wrestles with the morality of harming other people, even if they are giants.  

This book also deals with an issue that I think a lot of kids struggle with; living up to your parents expectations.  Jack has been told from a young age that he is destined for greatness.  Jack's sister is the "good girl."  But are they really what they have been told all their lives?  They struggle with this and learn that it is ok to not be exactly what others expect you to be.  That standing up and making your own decisions is what makes you your own person.

This is definitely a great book for kids who are struggling with self confidence or to find their own place in the world.  Even if they aren't struggling to figure out who they are this is a good adventure story for kids.  It may also help stop some sibling squabbles and get them to work together! 

I received this book from netgalley and Random House Kids in exchange for an honest review.

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