Kate and the beanstalk

Mary Pope Osborne

Book - 2000

In this version of the classic tale, a girl climbs to the top of a giant beanstalk, where she uses her quick wits to outsmart a giant and make her and her mother's fortune.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Atheneum 2000.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
ISBN
9780689825507
0689825501
Main Author
Mary Pope Osborne (-)
Other Authors
Giselle Potter (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ages 4-8. This delightful version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" seamlessly incorporates several new elements while retaining all the story's winning aspects. First and foremost, of course, is that Jack has metamorphosed into Kate, a plucky girl who climbs the vine without hesitation and cunningly tricks the giant out of his hen, his gold, and his harp. A variation on the plot is Kate's right to the treasure: she is the daughter of a knight the giant has killed. The text is straightforward but punctuated by some delicious dialogue, especially between Kate and the giant's giant housekeeper. The oversize format suits Potter's art very well, allowing full range for huge characters, climbing beanstalks, and raucous action. Using a variety of mediums--pencil, ink, gouache, and watercolor--the illustrations are executed in Potter's signature folk-art style. They are immediate, innovative, and just the right size for story hours. Fee, fi, fo--fun! --Ilene CooperCopyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Osborne tweaks tradition with this feminist rendition of a classic fairy tale. Here it's Kate instead of Jack who trades her family's cow for magic beans, and later climbs the beanstalk to find a kingdom in the clouds. Like Ann Beneduce's recent Jack and the Beanstalk, Osborne draws from a late-19th-century source for her retelling that incorporates a disguised fairy queen and a motivation for repeated visits to the giant avenging Kate's father's death. Osborne's witty and spry reworking (she changes the giant's famous refrain to accommodate Kate's gender, "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum'un,/ I smell the blood of an Englishwoman") shows Kate in a confident light ("I fear nothing when I'm doing right," the heroine tells the fairy queen). Through her cleverness and resourcefulness (and the unwitting help of the giant's wife), the heroine earns back all that the giant usurped from her family. Potter's (Gabriella's Song) airy gouache and watercolor illustrations sparkle with humor and exploit the perspectives offered by the towering beanstalk. With her Princess Leia-style hairdo, a few disguises and a can-do attitude, Kate comes across as a real action heroine, whether setting off determinedly with the family cow, nipping up the beanstalk or pedaling an eggbeater to assist the giantess in preparing breakfast. There's much to enjoy in this spunky picture book, which puts a fresh face on an old favorite. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kate (instead of Jack) trades her family's cow for magic beans and climbs the beanstalk to find a kingdom in the clouds. PW 's starred review said it "puts a fresh face on an old favorite." All ages. (Oct.) [Page 61]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 4-This version, far more interesting than the more common one found on library shelves, owes much to Andrew Lang's The Red Fairy Book (1890), which is cited. An old woman meets Kate at the top of the beanstalk and discloses the "back story." The giant killed a knight and stole his castle while his wife and baby were away. "Perhaps you are the one to right the terrible wrongs," says the old woman, going on to inform Kate that she must return three treasures to the knight's widow. Following the familiar pattern, Kate pays three visits to the giant's castle. After she has succeeded in her quest, the Queen of the Fairies reveals that Kate is the knight's daughter and was being tested for her worthiness. While purists may regret the altered rhyme, "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum'un, I smell the blood of an Englishwoman-" the moral anchor in this version works nicely with the switch in the main character's gender. Careful book design is evident in this appropriately oversized volume. The dizzying perspectives seen from the beanstalk are exaggerated by text that becomes bigger and bolder with Kate's ascent and descent. The language, while accessible, has a fairy-tale formality, but there is lots of ironic humor in Potter's flat, naïf drawings. The avaricious giant is uniquely tidy with slicked-down hair and a carefully waxed mustache, and Kate rides the eggbeater like a bicycle as she helps the giantess make breakfast. One of the most lasting and popular of all fairytales, this retelling will make a popular addition to all collections.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In this version of the classic Jack and the Beanstalk tale, a girl climbs to the top of a giant beanstalk, where she uses her quick wits to outsmart a giant and make her and her mother's fortune.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In this version of the classic tale, a girl climbs to the top of a giant beanstalk, where she uses her quick wits to outsmart a giant and make her and her mother's fortune.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Mary Pope Osborne and Giselle Potter’s funny, magical retelling of a favorite fairy tale featuring Kate, a new and inspiring heroine.

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum’un,
I smell the blood of an Englishwoman.
Be she alive or be she dead,
I'll grind her bones to make my bread.


Readers will cheer on the resourceful, gutsy Kate as she outsmarts the famously greedy giant.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Mary Pope Osborne and Giselle Potter's funny, magical retelling of a favorite fairy tale featuring Kate, a new and inspiring heroine. Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum'un, I smell the blood of an Englishwoman. Be she alive or be she dead, I'll grind her bones to make my bread. Readers will cheer on the resourceful, gutsy Kate as she outsmarts the famously greedy giant.