Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TBT Review of Jack and the Beanstalk

Young Jack foolishly trades the family’s last property of any value, their cow, for a handful of magic beans. Furious, his mother tosses them out the window and the two go to bed hungry. The next morning a mysterious beanstalk appears reaching beyond the clouds. Jack’s curiosity gets the best of him and he climbs the beanstalk. At the top of the beanstalk is the home of a tyrant of a giant who frightens us all with these words:
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he live, or be he dead
I'll grind his bones to make my bread
Jack and the Beanstalk is the most familiar of all the “Jack Tales” that have been told for centuries. Jack is depicted as a trickster who is often lazy and sometimes na├»ve, but who wins out in the end despite his character flaws. Jack and the Beanstalk has been categorized as a fairy tale due to the magical elements, and also as a folktale because it has been passed down for generations and adapted to reflect the culture of the storytellers.

If the name of this story is even mentioned, my memories soar back to my grandfather reading this story at bedtime to my sister Nancy and me. He would hold a copy of the book but told it from memory. Of course, the highlight would be those fearsome words spoken by the fuming giant. As we got older, Nancy and I still asked for the story. We did want to hear Granddaddy tell it, but we also found it hilarious to watch him drift off to sleep halfway through the story while sitting in a chair! Reminiscing about my grandfather telling Jack and the Beanstalk brings back wonderful memories. 
My grandparents Millard (the Jack & the Beanstalk Storyteller) and Natalie in 1980.
There are many different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk and the story has a wide appeal. Because of the giant’s threat of grinding bones, this story may be most appropriate to children ages 5 and up.

Here are some versions I recommend. 


Please share your thoughts!