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The Thief and the Beanstalk Paperback – 2005

23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks; First edition (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416906002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416906001
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,237,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello and welcome. If you aren't familiar with my novels, here's the general idea: I take a classic fairy tale and tell you what happens many years later, using the loose threads of the original story to weave a new adventure (a fast-paced, action-packed, sometimes scary adventure, to be more specific). Sometimes the characters from the original tales show up in supporting roles. In "The Thief and the Beanstalk," for example, you'll meet Jack, but he's an old man. The hero is a young thief named Nick who crosses Jack's path. This is a fun premise for stories, because the themes of the old stories echo in the new adventures, and I can look at the classic tale in a new and sometimes unexpected way.

As for me, I was born in New York, lived near Boston for a few years, then moved to Connecticut when I was seven. I live in a small town in the same state today, with my wife and three children. These days, when I'm not writing books, I work for an advertising agency.

Here's a funny little coincidence: The letters in "P.W. Catanese" can be rearranged to spell "Want escape?" And that's why people read books like these, isn't it?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was asked to review a book for a book fair at school and handed the Thief and the Beanstalk. I kind of groaned when I looked at the length of it, but I needed a read aloud for my fifth grade class in May, so I figured go for it. I am so glad I did. Every day I would read the adventures of Nick and Jack and all the other characters and my kids LOVED it. When I would stop at the end of the chapter, groans could be heard. I was even asked by students in another class if they could come and listen to me read during sustained silent reading time! Now my students are great readers and tough on books, but they LOVED this book right from the get go. And so did I. Not only did they then buy every copy of the book at the book fair, their writing also became better. By listening to the words of P.W. Cantanese, I saw their writing improve by great use of vocabulary and imagery. If you're looking for book to read to your fourth-sixth graders at night time this summer or one for them to read on their own, check out this book. You'll be glad you did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LarryC on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at random from a book fair at my son's school. We were absolutely mesmerized. The concept is clever, the plot is full of suspense and puzzle and surprises, the writing is beautiful, and the vocabulary is very advanced. This is not one of those stupid "socially relevant" children's books so beloved of teachers and Newberry medal folks. This is an old-fashioned tale of bravery and adventure. We couldn't put it down, and when we were finished I went right out and bought the next book, The Brave Apprentice. Which is even better!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Heather A. Rhoades on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
We read this for my son's school book club (he is in 4th grade) and for the most part everyone in the club enjoyed it. Many of the parents commented that a few of the scenes were a bit grotesque, mainly the parts about the spiders that had baby heads, but on the same note, all the kids thought those same parts were pretty cool.

The story is pretty predictable for an adult but to a child who is not yet familier with typical storylines, the book has plenty of suspense. While the book's main character is a boy, this book was recommened to the club by a girl in the class who had read it several times and had listed it as one of her all time favorite books so it appears that this book is entertaining for both boys and girls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Squid on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I began reading this book to my kids, but soon my wife was coming in to listen too. Then I sent copies so my brother and sister could read it to their kids, and gave it to an English teacher and an adult friend. I guess you could say that I liked this book.

I was always disturbed by the tail of Jack and the Beanstock, to which this tale is the sequel to. Fairy tales are usually morality tails where the hero is rewarded in the end and lives happily ever after. But Jack was not much of a hero. He was a fool, a wastrel and a bugler, yet where the traditional tale ends, Jack ends up wealthy and happy. What kind of story is that for children?

(Spoiler Alert!!) In the continuation of the story Jack is an old man, wealthy, generous, and respected, but within, he was deeply troubled by knowledge of how he attained his wealth. A young thief appears in his home, and he sees much of himself in the boy, and a chance to resolve his own guilt. Rather than live with what he had done, he sends this young boy into profound danger, and risks disaster for everyone in an attempt to gain solace for his crime. But with this act we can see that for all his trapping of dignity and his wallowing in self-loathing, Jack remains self absorbed, irresponsible, and untransformed, even near the end of his lifetime.

The story centers around Nick, a young orphan in a time of plague and famine taken into a gang of highwaymen and thieves as his only hope of survival. Yet this young thief does become a hero, and in him we see the development of character in the face of adversity that makes this a classic tale.

While many other flawed characters in this book serve their own narrow self interests, Nick who has lived the most deprived life of any of these persons, inspires us with his choices. It is a well told and captivating story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Snyder on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
My 6-year-old son and I got this book through his school's book fair--he picked it up because the cover looked interesting. What a great treat it was inside! We began reading it in the evening before bed, and we could hardly wait to get to the next chapter. The length of each chapter was perfect for this purpose.

The descriptions were just right--enough to get a great picure in mind but not so long that my son got confused or bored. There were some unfamiliar words but it wasn't too hard to explain them quickly and stay with the story.

We loved this book--it was very exciting and fun to read! It also has a great moral without hitting the reader over the head with it. We are going to look for more by Mr. Catanese!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pamela F. Proehl on March 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is pretty good. It has its good parts and its bad. It was interesting to read about an addition to a childhood fairytale. Jack and the Beanstock was a great story to read as a kid and this addition to it made it even better, because this is more of a grown up version of the story and I liked that. I also liked how the book went into depth and described scenes in great detail. She described the characters to such an extent that I could tell what they looked like. It was like I was actually in the book. It was a very fun book to read.
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