Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

7 CDs. 7:58 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780553551259. digital download.
Gr 3–7—Jack is a prankster who takes nothing seriously until his papa is snatched up by giants. Jack climbs the famous beanstalk and discovers a land where he and his kind are considered elves and giants are regular folk. Narrator Bruce Mann uses pitch, volume, and intonation to fill Jack's voice with angst while mixing it with wonder at the everyday items such as spoons and shoes that are now big enough for him to play on or reside in. Jack makes many friends, some of whom are "elves" like himself, while others are kindhearted giants like Martha "King Barth's" royal cook. Mann easily transitions between voices, and his female vocalizations, including Martha and Jack's little sister, Annabella, are pitched perfectly. His thoughtful narration captures the whimsy and charm of the story.
VERDICT Sure to be popular for family road trips and embraced by listeners of all ages.

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