Jack and the Baked Beanstalk is-if you didn’t already guess from the title- a fractured fairytale based off of the classic fairytale, Jack and the Beanstalk. So just what happens when you turn a regular old beanstalk into a baked one? It turns out, a lot more than just the flavor changes!
Most of us know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack lives with his mother out in the country, with nothing of value in their possession but a cow. When the last of their meager money runs out, Jack’s mom sends him into town to sell the cow. It’s a sad affair all around, but by some completely obscure and random twist of fate, Jack runs into a stranger who is willing to trade some magic beans for the cow…and so the story goes on, ending happily ever after.
Jack and the Baked Beanstalk is a little (ok more than a little) different. Instead of living off in the country, Jack and his mother run a small food truck-café in an urban area. When a highway is built right over them, business gets harder and harder to come by, and Jack is sent to trade in their last few pennies. When he returns with only a can of old baked beans, his mother is understandably furious, and chucks it out the window. Overnight it grows into a huge beanstalk that takes curious Jack to the home of a money hungry giant who spends his time counting his fortune again and again. It’s then up to Jack to help the giant find something more fulfilling to do-and save the café in the process.
The illustrations of the characters are quite goofy, but if you look past Jack’s buck teeth and unruly hair, you’ll find a story filled with surprisingly detailed and lovely drawings. Author/illustrator Colin Stimpson makes sure the pages are filled from top to bottom with rich illustrations.
What Can Kids Take Away?
The overwhelming moral of the story is that money cannot by happiness, exemplified by the unhappy giant who spends all of his days counting gold (or silver) and learning from Jack that there are far more fulfilling things to do in life than brood over your riches.