February 4, 2013

Project Fairy Tale: Jack and the Beanstalk

Posted in Blogging, Books, Fairytales tagged , at 9:40 pm by catsinboxes

When I read Alison’s idea for Project Fairy Tale, a couple months ago, I thought it would be fun to jump in.  I chose Jack and the Beanstalk, partly because some of my other favorites were already taken, and partly because I thought it would be fun to dig a little bit into Jack and the Beanstalk.

It was some time later, while watching the trailers that led up to The Hobbit, that I realized I had chosen a fairytale which is about to hit the big screen!  I’m not quite sure what to make of the movie judging by the trailers, but it does seem like a nice action flick if you’re in the mood for some fantasy.

As for the the real Jack (I like it shortened, don’t you?)  I’ll soon be reviewing three different versions of the fairytale, but here are two tidbits I have discovered.

There are two standard versions of Jack.  In one, Jack finds out from a fairy that the giant killed his father and sets off on a quest for vengeance and rightfully taking back what is his.  In the other, which Andrew Lang stuck with, Jack just discovers the beans and then sets off to raid the giant.  It seems from a quick perusal of facts that some traditionally have found this objectionable: a small annoying boy bothering a peaceful giant.  To which I respond, since when have giants been peaceful?  This giant is tromping around fee-fi-fo-fumming and eating Englishman!  Why shouldn’t Jack do a little bit of light-fingered work while he’s visiting?

And, one more clarification.  While the movie is most definitely about Jack and the Beanstalk . . .

The name is that of another fairytale.  Yes, the main character is also named Jack, and yes, he does kill giants, but relying on a memory of fairytales read long ago, this Jack does not have a beanstalk.  More about that later!


  1. Alison said,

    Interesting! I didn’t know there were 2 versions of the story.

  2. Quinn said,

    I just read a YA retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk called The World Above. It was okay. It was very short, but it delivered what I was expecting.

    Have you ever seen the original Jack The Giant Killer from the 60s, I think? I have no idea why, but I used to love that movie when I was a kid.

    • catsinboxes said,

      Hey Quinn, thanks for your comment! I noticed The World Above when I was looking up different versions of Jack, but like you, I had the feeling it would be okay. It doesn’t seem like there’s a great retelling in YA form out there, at least I wasn’t able to find one!

      I haven’t seen the original Jack the Giant Killer movie. It sounds fun 🙂 I just was reading your blog, and I see you like Princess Bride. Now that’s a great movie! (And I’m a P & P fan, too 🙂 )

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