From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Despite his fearsome appearance, Otto, a young giant who lives in a magical kingdom high above the human world, is gentle and polite. When his beloved pet chicken is stolen by the human Jack, he descends the beanstalk to try and retrieve her. After being misdirected to every other nursery-rhyme Jack in town, Otto finally finds the culprit. The giant realizes that the boy only wanted to sell Clara so that he could retrieve his own lost pet, Milky White the cow, and the two find a way to retrieve their adored animals. All ends happily as the other giants recognize Otto's heroic qualities, and Jack and his mother open a roadside stand to sell soup mix, made, of course, from beans. While the sharp satire and social commentary that ran throughout Stanley's Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter
(HarperCollins, 1997) are missing here, the point-of-view reversal is amusing and the plot and characters are nicely developed. The watercolor illustrations depict a cozy, bucolic fairy-tale world and are replete with humorous details. This is a worthy addition to the growing canon of fractured fairy tales.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Gr. 1-3. Everything happens in threes in the world of folklore, so it's only natural that Stanley should follow up her Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter
(1997) and Goldie and the Three Bears
(2003) with a third revisionist tale. Otto the giant is a tenderhearted fellow who keeps a hen for a pet. And that "fee-fi-fo-fum" thing? That's just "the scariest thing he could remember from fourth-grade Threats and Curses," which he blurts out in desperation when he catches Jack stealing his beloved hen. Otto follows Jack down the beanstalk, where his search leads him to numerous villagers named Jack--each of whom hails from a different nursery rhyme. The rhymes, which aren't always obvious, can be found at the end of the book. Finally, Otto catches up with the proper Jack and the pair work out a satisfactory trade. Although the blending of fractured fairy tale and nursery-rhyme seek-and-find feels a little clumsy, Stanley injects her characteristic, understated humor into both text and art, and young ones will take pleasure in identifying the individual elements of the thoroughly mixed-up story. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved