Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child: A Worldwide Jack and the Beanstalk Story

Paul Fleischman, illus. by Julie Paschkis. Holt/Godwin, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-15177-3
This collaboration offers a kaleidoscopic presentation of the traditional boy and giant story by collaging text fragments from different cultures’ tellings. Each story fragment is boxed and framed by color-saturated illustrated backgrounds evoking the text’s origin country, which is also spelled out in a subtly incorporated title card. The format evokes the sense of an eager chorus, with voices from Ethiopia, Gambia, Greece, Japan, the Philippines, and elsewhere jostles in a folkloric cacophony that offers conflicting details. A boy who is “the youngest of twelve. The youngest of thirteen” must steal or find something: a golden harp, a prize bull, a wish-granting jewel, a thousand pearls. These shifting elements alchemically coalesce into a sturdy plot in which the littlest and least-regarded triumphs. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2019
Release date: 04/23/2019
Genre: Children's
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