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The Dragon Lode

(Journal of the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association)

Jack Returns from the Beanstalk with Renewed Vigor

By Linda Organ

Brace yourself for a perfect “rap-up” to a unit on the new life of “Jack and the Beanstalk” in the 1990’s. Barbara Leeds has reshaped Jack into a rap-speak cassette with accompanying large-print text. It’s got the pep and pizzazz to draw in young readers. The words are haunting: The word patterns buzz in children’s minds and later come out in their conversation and in their writing. The refrains won’t let you go.

Rappers urge Jack to escape the ogre in “Go, Jack, Go”:

He said, “Fee fi fo fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Boiled or stir-fried, broiled or stewed,
That boy is about to be ogre food.”

“Jack” alone would be worth the price of the tape. Yet, along with him, are included “The Real Princess” (from “The Princess and the Pea”), “Cider from the Cellar” (from “The Three Sillies”), and “The King’s New Clothes” (from “The Emperor’s New Clothes”).

Fun and up-beat, the stories beg for children’s involvement: choral reading and dramatization. This is a bargain.

Leeds, Barbara. Fairy Tale Rap.
Mountain View, California: Miramonte Press, 1989.
Cassette $7.95, book $5.95, or book/tape combination $11.95.

Spring 1991

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