Jack and the Baked Beanstalk and The Most Wonderful Thing in the World -- Fairy Tale Reviews

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copies of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own, and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

There is a lot of talk around about trying to defrill princesses for our daughters. And  a lot of talk about how fairy tales tend to show females as victims who need saving. Well, today I am going to share with you two fairy tales that do NOT do this. The first is a modern spin on a classic. It is called Jack and the Baked Beanstalk and is by Colin Stimpson.

Now I have to admit we have not read the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk all the way through because Hazel gets too afraid of the giant. However this version she LOVES!!! Jack and his mother live in their food truck which is broken down, but their cafe does well until the city builds an overpass over it and shuts down the road. Then Jack is sent to the store with their last pennies to buy some coffee. Instead he meets an old man who offers him a can of magic baked beans. Since Jack knows from fairy tales not to turn down an offer like that and loves baked beans he trades their last pennies for a can of baked beans. His mother is furious. She throws the can out and sends him to bed. And of course the can of baked beans grows into a beanstalk with cans of baked beans on it. Jack and their dog climb the beanstalk to meet a friendly but lonely giant and his chicken and magic radio. When all is said and done there is a very happy ending to the story that I do  not want to ruin. It is a wonderful story with beautiful pictures. We absolutely love the story and I love that it is set in a modern day world with some of the modern day issues.

Our second tale is The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French and illustrated by Angela Barrett. This is a princess story. In this tale the king and queen think their daughter is wonderful. They realize at some point she will reign as queen and will need a king. They decide with some advice to ask the suitors to show them the most wonderful thing in the world and the one who does will marry their daughter.  While the suitors are sharing their treasures the princess who has not really been allowed to leave the palace walls is exploring the kingdom with the help of a young man. The young man does not know that he is showing the princess around and discovers her identity on the night before their tour of the last part of the kingdom--his home island. Her parents however have many suitors bringing many treasures and are tired and at times disgusted with what is shown to them. One suitor brings weapons of mass destruction. I love that the king and queen comment on this and find it weird that these would be considered wonderful. In the end the young man shows the king and queen the most wonderful thing in the world--their daughter. To me this tale shows a strong princess who wants to learn about the kingdom so she will be able to rule it fairly and well. The poor local boy realizes what treasures the princess and true love are. It seems to be a wonderful example of a healthy relationship. The princess and young man fall in love while he shows her the entire kingdom including the parts that the wealthy often do not visit. There are so many positive messages in this story. The illustrations are wonderful as well.

So if you are like us and love fairy tales and are looking for some with positive messages and set more in the real world, check out these great books!!