Daddy and the Beanstalk

Little, Brown Ink. Nov. 2023. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780316592918.
Gr 1-4–Six-year-old Estella convinces her dad to tell her a bedtime story. She requests a “not-too-scary” one about him and his sister when they were kids and he opens with a tale that sounds very much like “Jack and the Beanstalk.” The story smoothly jumps back and forth between the real-world dad and daughter to a fantasy adventure. They humorously discuss many life lessons with Estella adding her opinions. In keeping with the original tale, seven-year-old Andy, who is Estella’s dad, is captured by a giant. Luckily his older sister followed him up the beanstalk. Together they escape and race back down, chop the beanstalk down, and cause the giant to fall. He regains consciousness and is able to explain the misunderstanding. Andy was afraid he would become soup for the giant, when in fact, the giant wanted Andy to make soup. The misunderstanding ends in friendship, and it turns out Andy makes terrible soup but throws a great pizza party. Crandall overlaps the two branches of the story while cleverly separating time lines by using pink tones for the present and yellows and greens in the fantasy past. Panels of all shapes and sizes make the story fun to read.
VERDICT Laughs abound in this fractured fairy tale embedded in a bedtime story. Give this to fans of “Katie the Catsitter” by Colleen AF Venable and Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre.

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