©Nina Crews 2011 Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company ISBN: 9780805087659
Jack receives beans from his neighbor and – lo and behold! – those beans lead him up a beanstalk and into the company of giants. How will he ever get back home? In her innovative photo-collage style, Nina Crews freshens up a beloved children’s tale for today’s young readers.
Kirkus – A contemporary urban version of the ancient tale of beans and boy, with spiky parts rounded off. This Jack gets a jar of brightly colored beans for doing chores for his neighbor, and he plants them beneath his bedroom window right away. Overnight, it grows into a splendid leafy ladder up the side of his apartment building, and after checking it for sturdiness Jack climbs up until he can see the whole city (“WOW!”). Above the clouds, the scent of chocolate-chip cookies lures him to a castle, where he finds a giant admiring himself while his giant wife gives him a pedicure (“I look good. I smell good”). The giants immediately put Jack to work, and after a long day he races down the beanstalk with the golden-egg-laying hen under his arm. When he chops down the stalk, giant and wife tumble down—and lo! They were under a curse, which Jack has broken, and they are just ordinary-sized folk. The images are quite keen, photographs and the occasional line drawing manipulated and layered to shape the story. Mrs. Giant has a fabulous ’50s-print apron with roosters and pots, as well as lots of jewelry, and Mr. struts in boots and vest, with a red bandanna in his pocket.
Crews’ fans will be delighted; others will be drawn in by the nifty mix of folktale and photo-collage. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-9)