Jack's Back! A Bean, A Stalk, and A Boy Named Jack by William Joyce
THE KING'S ROYAL PINKY
HAD BECOME STINKY!
The rains hadn't come in quite a while, and well, frankly, the King was as stinky as the rest of the unwashed peasants in the kingdom..
At first he sent for noblemen and women and ordered them to weep and wail until he collected enough tears for a bit of a wash! But there's a limit to tears, even under duress! And besides, the Princess is totally embarrassed by the whole thing.
People begged the Royal Wizard to do something!
THERE WAS A SMALLISH GREEN BEAN, AS REGULAR AS THEY COME.
THERE WAS ALSO A SMALLISH KID
WITH THE SMALLISH NAME OF JACK
AND A SMALLISH COW. NO GREAT SHAKES.
Everyone knows what happens when a smallish boy gets his hands on a smallish bean, and this Jack soon has an enormous beanstalk. There's nothing left to do but climb it, and so he does.
At the top he follows some impressive plumbing until he comes to a room and sees a giant bathtub full of giant bubbles, and lolling in the suds, he sees ...
A SMALLISH GIANT KID NAMED DON.
Jack thinks it's time to make a deal.
"BEEN IN THE TUB LONG?"
"A LONG TIME. MY PINKY WAS STINKY."
Jack thinks he's found the reason that the rains haven't fallen on the kingdom. He and Don's mom agree that it's past time to pull the plug on bath boy.
It's down the drain with Don's bathwater and Jack, as the water cascades down the beanstalk, and soon the kingdom has plenty. The king's pinky is no longer stinky, and Jack and Princess Blah ("You can call me Jill!") find they share a mutual fondness for water pails.
Everyone lives happy (or at least clean) ever after, sorta, in William Joyce's fractured take on the venerable Jack tale, A Bean, a Stalk and a Boy Named Jack (Monobot/Atheneum Books, 2014). Nobody gets eaten or even chased down a beanstalk here, but with tongue in cheek, Joyce's narration, assisted well by the quirky and clever cartoon illustrations of Kerry Callicutt, pokes gentle fun at the familiar fairy tale which will tickle some giggles out of folktale-savvy young readers. Says Kirkus, "Joyce and Callicutt royally fracture the familiar folk tale in this high-concept romp."
Pair this one with Tomie dePaola's rewrite of the Jack tale, in his brand-new picture book, Jack