From School Library Journal
Though Jack loves West Texas barbecue, his mother will not cook for him-not since his daddy died of a broken heart when a giant stole his recipe book. Vowing to get it back, Jack climbs Mount Pecos, steps onto the clouds, and follows a smoky sweet smell to a massive barbecue shack. The jukebox in the corner becomes a willing ally, hiding Jack as the giant comes in. After sniffing the air and downing vast quantities of ribs, sausages, and sweet tea, the giant falls asleep. Jack retrieves his father’s recipe book, turns the jukebox into a sled with giant rib bones, and pushes it across the greasy floor and out the door. The giant awakes, jumps in his pickup truck and chases the boy back through the clouds. Jack opens his own barbecue shack and lets the giant work for him. Full-color illustrations are done in gouache with colored pencil accents. Kimmel’s version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is served up with country music playing on the jukebox and rows of pickup trucks in the parking lot. Though youngsters may miss the many references to country songs, they will enjoy the vivid language and larger-than-life elements- the giant’s truck flattens all the mountains in West Texas, making that area “flat as a skillet all the way to New Mexico.” Libraries in which Kimmel’s other Southwestern tales are popular will want this one.
— School Library Journal
, April 2012
Ages 5-8—Kimmel and Manders conspire to provide a fun riff on the Jack and the Beanstalk tale.
This time out, instead of beans and golden egg-laying goose, our Texan Jack goes after the giant to recover his father’s barbecue recipe book and finds a companion in a talking jukebox. Kimmel keeps the tale moving along without strain and with the level of wit that children will delight in being able to share with an adult reading the book to them. Manders’ colorful and cartoony paintings provide us with Jack (about age seven) in a ten-gallon hat, a jukebox that indeed has personality, and a giant who looks like Paul Bunyan on steroids. Large typeface invites early readers to try to work through the text on their own, but the story is made for reading aloud and sharing the giggles. An endnote describes barbecue, should any non-Texan be left wondering after listening to Jack, his mom, and the giant discuss its glories. — Booklist, May 2012