Boom! Boom! Boom! Giants are real! Jack sees them slide down from Above to raid his farm. Worse, they take his Papa.
Inspired by stories about his seven-greats-grandfather, Jack the Giant Killer, Jack vows to climb Above to rescue his Papa. After he grows a giant beanstalk he has the means. Only he hadn’t been expecting his bothersome little sister, Annabella, to tag along. In a land where even a bird poses a threat and poisonous pixies abound, this actually turns out to be a good thing. Annabella has a way with animals and understands the pixies. New friend Tom Thumb helps too. Shurtliff skillfully weaves Jack’s tale together with other classics about giants and elves as well as her own previous book, Rump (2013). It turns out that the kingdom Jack enters belongs to King Barf, and the reason for the giants’ raids is famine. Greedy King Barf is using magic to create gold, and the magic is pulling all the power out of growing things. If the story meanders a bit and the moral about treasuring what we grow feels tacked on, there are still enough boisterous adventures about a wee boy (and girl) overcoming big obstacles and defeating greed to keep youngsters hooked.
Fans of retold fairy tales will be well-satisfied. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)