Teague fractures the classic fairy tale, sending Jack on a culinary odyssey.
The tale begins as expected. Jack and his mother, both depicted as white, are poor; Jack goes to town to sell a cow; he returns with no money but a handful of magic beans. His mother throws the beans out the window, and the next day a gigantic beanstalk has grown. But here the story takes a new path. No longer will Jack and his mother starve, as the stalk bears a huge number of beans, and she cooks up baked beans, pickled beans, mashed beans, bean soup, and bean chowder. Jack soon tires of beans and dreams of burgers and french fries. When he climbs the beanstalk, he finds a like-minded giant (also white) who’s so tired of beans he wants to eat Jack instead. But the bean-hating duo heads down the stalk and plants a garden with a more diversified crop of vegetables, to the delight of the whole, not-particularly-diverse community. As in his The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf (2013), Teague defuses a conflict through the promise of good food. His full-bleed illustrations effectively emphasize the size of both giant and beanstalk, culminating in a humorous final page depicting the giant’s arm reaching down from off the page to give Jack’s plate of french fries a nice squirt of ketchup.
Fun. (Picture book. 3-8)