I’m not sure which book(s) I have reread most often. There have been a few loved to death books over the years. I know I read the first Red Dwarf novel repeatedly as a teenager, and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I don’t really reread books for myself now, and haven’t for a long time. But as a parent of young children, I do read certain books over and over and over again. Today’s choice is one that has been an almost daily request for May and June.
Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk: Rachel Mortimer & Liz Pichon (Orchard Books, 2014)
Danger Girl (5) loves fairy tales / fables / traditional tales. Whatever you call them, they are her favourite genre of story. Humorous twists on familiar tales always go down well, and adding sweeties into the mix makes this a piece of genius storytelling.
In Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk, the familiar tale of poverty starts how we’d expect. Jack goes to market to sell his cow, but on the way he’s offered twenty gold coins for her… Hold on a minute, Jack just sold the cow for something sensible, this can’t be right? Of course it will go wrong shortly, and in this case Jack’s eye is caught by a huge bag of jelly beans in a magical sweet shop…
The tale then returns to what we expect: Jack’s mum’s ire, beans thrown out of the window, Jack sent to bed without any supper, and then… More familiarity with a giant (jelly) beanstalk, a giant, a goose, and a harp, with an imaginative way of escape and enough jelly beans to last every meal for years. The final page is hinted at earlier in the book, but makes DG and MG giggle every time as they shout out the last few words.
This is the third in a series of alternate fairy tales from the team of Rachael Mortimer and Liz Pichon, and I am regularly told off by DG because we don’t own them all. Fun to read for all ages, and with lots to inspire children’s own storytelling.
Disclosure: Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk received for review from Hachette Children’s Books