cover image Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

Susan Pearson. Simon & Schuster, $13.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-671-67196-9

The tale of Jack, his widowed mother, the sky-dwelling giant and the five magical beans is well known. And the refrain--``Fee-fi-fo-fum! / I smell the blood of an Englishman. / Be he live or be he dead, / I'll grind his bones to make my bread''--is a time-honored tradition, which Pearson has happily neither modified nor omitted. Instead, she has simplified the language without losing the old-world atmosphere of Jack's adventures. The giant is as gruesome and disgusting as ever, and a glutton as well, consuming five meat pies, three roast turkeys, 10 pounds of fried potatoes, eight dozen eggs and a few gallons of hot chocolate. Pearson's satisfying retelling is further complemented by Warhola's rich, ruddy watercolors of an idealized fairy tale setting. The giant's fall from the sky is uniquely portrayed. Ages 4-8. (May)