Tag Archives: The Princess and the Giant

Up the Beanstalk

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The Princess and the Giant
Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton
Nosy Crow pbk
I love pretty much everything about this book but then I’m a real sucker for fairy tale spin offs or anything that promotes books and the enjoyment of reading. This one offers both. And, I’ve so much enjoyed every occasion when I’ve shared it with children; it’s a real treat to read aloud both for audience and adult reader – this one certainly.
The tale centres around Princess Sophie whose dwelling is a tiny house, her companions a tabby cat servant and a mouse butler, in addition to her parents that is:
Her father made the porridge
And her mother chopped the wood,’ (love that)

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Life should have been pretty peachy for our heroine who is free to ride her bike at will but every night the pesky giant who lives atop the magic beanstalk in the yard kept her whole family awake with his stamping and stomping.
So after a series of intolerably sleepless nights Princess Sophie stows various items in her backpack, scales the beanstalk’s dizzying heights and visits the giant. However, her sleep-inducing supper fails to produce the desired result and so she makes a second attempt –
also story inspired –

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but the noise only gets worse. Undaunted, Sophie keeps on visiting and trying until she hits upon a solution and guess what? It’s a bedtime story and the giant isn’t the only one she manages to send off to sleep with her once upon a time …

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A celebration is announced, though that’s not quite the end of this delicious tale. However I don’t want to spoil that, so let’s just say that Sophie has some nifty teaching, not to mention line walking still to do before she and her large new friend can live ‘Happily Ever After.’
Gorgeous illustrations absolutely packed with delicious details , and superb storytelling – what more can one want?

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Jack and the Beanstalk
Kathleen Lines and Harold Jones
Oxford University Press pbk
This is a classy classic collection of some of the best loved traditional tales retold by a great storyteller in a direct manner as befits the oral tradition, and illustrated by Harold Jones whose distinctive, wonderfully composed watercolour paintings are now so gloriously old-fashioned.

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In addition to the title story are nine other nursery favourites including The Story of the Three Bears, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and The Story of the Three Little Pigs.
It’s hard to believe this book was first published about fifty-five years ago. It was considered a treasure then and should be a treasure now.

In contrast, a thoroughly modern take on the traditional story is now out in paperback; it’s one I reviewed last year when it came out in hardback:

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Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk
Liz Pichon
Hodder Children’s Books pbk.

Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2