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Monday, April 6, 2009

Jack & The Beanstalk: The Graphic Novel (Juvenile)

Released September 2008

Reviewed by Deb Fowler

Jack and his widowed mother lived in a small ramshackle country cottage in England. One day, as Jack was milking the cow, he sadly discovered that she had gone dry. There was no alternative, but to sell Milky White, because otherwise they would starve. On the way to the market Jack ran into an old man who convinced him to trade Milky for five magic beans. Needless to say, his mother was some unhappy and threw him out, stating he couldn’t come back until he got their cow back.

He planted those beans, which quickly grew into a giant beanstalk. “FEE FIE FOH FUM! I smell the blood of an Englishman!” Whoa, Jack found something totally unexpected when he reached the top . . . a giant. Perhaps you already know the end of this story! Hoena tells it a bit differently, but a little extra spice is always nice in a fairy tale.

The small cast of characters, Jack, The Mother, The Giant’s Wife and the Giant, are introduced in the front of the book. In the back of the book we find information about the author and illustrator, a glossary, the history of Jack and the Beanstalk, discussion questions and writing prompts for classroom or homeschool use.

Graphic novels can oftentimes spur the reluctant reader into action. The “comic book” or graphic visual format is more exciting for some children. Tercio’s illustrations are streamlined and simple. The uncluttered pages are appealing will stimulate the reader’s imagination. These retold tales do make reading a bit more enticing and fun!

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