From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Spunky cowgirl Waynetta and her mother live on a ranch where the lack of water has forced them to sell all but one of them. Finally, Ma has to ask her daughter to sell that "sorry-looking critter," but instead the girl exchanges it for some magic corn. In this exuberant reworking of "Jack and the Beanstalk," Waynetta reaches the top of a giant cornstalk to find "the biggest ranch she'd ever seen." Then she walks to the front door (readers must surmise that it belongs to a house) and is greeted by a giant woman who says, "I reckon you've come to take back the things my husband stole from your ma years ago." The giant, who looks like an old Wild West villain, arrives chanting, "Fee, fie, foe, fat,/I think I smell a cowgirl brat!/Fee, fie, foe, feet,/chicken-fried cowgirl is what I'll eat!" While Waynetta hides behind a giant-size bowl of beans, he brings out his treasures, "a longhorn no bigger than a barn cat" that deposits "a golden cowpat," a lariat that "never misses," and a "thimble-sized bucket" that "never runs out of water." Watercolor images in varying shades of brown with dramatic splashes of purples, reds, greens, and blues depict Waynetta's rickety old house surrounded by broken fences and desert landscape. A gun-toting, ax-wielding mother and other exaggerative characters accompany the rich Texan parlance that peppers this amusing read-aloud.—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
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"Fee, fie, foe, fits, / I'll cook myself some cowgirl grits!" In this funny, feminist, fractured version of Jack and the Beanstalk, the hero is a girl, and her helper is a giant's wife. Waynetta and her ma work as "hard as eight-legged mules" on their scrubby Texas ranch. Still, they barely scrape by until Waynetta discovers a magic cornstalk. After climbing to the top, she finds an enormous ranch owned by a giant and his wife. The giant's wife helps Waynetta hide from the huge, mean rancher until he falls asleep. Then Waynetta lassoes a longhorn that makes cowpats of gold, brings the cow home to Ma, and climbs the cornstalk again in search of more treasure. The ending, in which the giant is transformed into a sweet ranch worker, is a little lame. But the action-packed, neon-colored illustrations match the uproarious, tall-tale fun. Kids will enjoy the Wild West setting and the story of the bad grown-up who is outwitted by the small hero. Rochman, Hazel Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved