Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk (review)

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk (to be published by Knopf in April 2015)
Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Review ARC sent by publisher

Having read and greatly enjoyed Liesl Shurtliff's debut middle grade novel, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, I was eager to read "Jack," but a little worried that it might not live up to her first. I needn't have worried.

Shurtliff devised a very clever way to tie together the two stories, while managing the essential task of allowing each to be read on its own. Jack does not start out in the same magical world in which "Rump" takes place, but instead in a place slightly reminiscent of Dorothy's Kansas in the "Wizard of Oz." But we do eventually get to that world, and the shift will delight young readers with its shift in perspective as much as earlier readers delighted in the magical kingdom of Oz.

Giants, elves, pixies and golden eggs, and none of them quite what they seem at first. Jack is destined to be the hero, but not in the way he expects, and only after getting in and out of a number of difficult situations and learning to depend on others, no matter how small. Keep a close eye out, because other fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters make appearances as well.

While I read this as an ARC, I'll be sure to pick up a hardcover copy when it is available. Terrific fun for kids (and adults who aren't afraid to be kids as well).

I can easily recommend this book for both boys and girls in third through seventh grade. I'm glad to have had a chance to read it.

Five out of five stars!