Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 192: Jack and the Beanstalk

We all remember some of the classic fairy tales from our childhood:  Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Ugly Duckling, Jack and the Beanstalk.  It's funny, though, because for some reason, I don't remember how I actually learned these stories.  Did my mom sit and read them to me?  I don't think we had them as actual books, but maybe I'm just forgetting.  Or maybe she just told them to me.  Did my teachers read them to me in school?  I honestly can't remember.  Somehow, though, I grew up knowing all of these traditional tales.  In a way, it's essential childhood knowledge, don't you think?  Growing up not knowing these classics would be like growing up not knowing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or Mary Had a Little Lamb.  It's part of our childhood vernacular.  When I began reading to my children, I knew these tales would be on our reading list someday.  The trick was going to be finding versions of some of them that were slightly less graphic than the originals.  Call me over-protective, but some of these stories are really kind of horrifying.  I mean, I'm okay with the wolf swallowing Granny whole and all, but the woodcutter slashing him open with an axe?  That seems a bit gory for three year old, if you ask me.  I know some people would disagree, but if I can minimize the violence, tragedy, and death a bit for now by reading a slightly less graphic version, I will.   But I digress...  

What I really want to talk about here is how much I love this version of Jack and the Beanstalk!  If you've followed this blog for a while, you know how much I love the publishing company Barefoot Books.  Their stories are always beautiful, both in message and illustration.  More than anything, I love the comfort of knowing that I can pick up any book from this publisher and know that it's going to be of the highest quality.  They feature many original stories, as well as traditional fables and fairy tales from cultures around the world.  I was thrilled to add their rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk to our home library, particularly because it also came with a fabulous audio version that quickly took up residence in our permanent car rotation.  My kids and I both adore this story, and while we do read it aloud ourselves from time to time, I find we listen to the audio version more.  (Mostly, this is because they love reading along with the cd so much, the book is always in the car.)  The classic elements of the tale are all here, with just the right amount of humor mixed in to keep things from being too violent or scary.  Rather than being killed in the end, for example, the giant gets flung far off into space, never to be seen again.  (The "BOING!!!" that happens then is always my kids' favorite part of the story.)  There's no talk about the giant having Jack's bones to grind his bread, which I find kind of nice, and while he still says the famed, "Fee, fi, fo fum!," it is followed by, "I smell the blood of a stinky man!" (which my daughter finds particularly hilarious.)  If you're looking to introduce your little one to this traditional fairy tale, we highly recommend this version.  Thanks, Barefoot Books, for bringing us another great childhood classic!  


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