Penguin Young Readers Factsheets
Summary of the story
Jack is a poor boy who lives in the forest with his mother. One day she tells him they are so poor that he must take the cow to market to get some food. On the way Jack meets a man who gives Jack five magic beans in exchange for the cow. His angry mother throws the beans into the garden. Overnight the beans grow into a huge beanstalk and Jack climbs up. At the top he finds a castle where a giant and his wife live. The giant likes to eat children so Jack hides in the oven. Jack goes up the beanstalk three times. When the giant is sleeping, Jack steals a bag of gold, a magic hen, and a golden harp. The third time, the giant wakes up and chases Jack down the beanstalk. Jack and his mother cut down the beanstalk and the giant falls to his death.
Background to the story
Jack and the Beanstalk is a well-known fairytale. The story first appeared about 1820, and there are many versions. Another name for the story is ‘Jack and the Giant Killer’.
Topics and themes
Animals. The story, with a cow and hen, can be used as a starting point, to investigate other farm animals. A mural of cut-out animals could follow on from the story. Food. The story can be used as part of this topic to reinforce various items of food that are mentioned. The pupils could draw and talk about other huge plates of food the giant might like to eat. Hobbies. Plants/Flowers/Trees. The story can be used as an introduction to this topic. Beans can be planted in a pot in the classroom. My house. As an extension to this topic, the pupils can imagine the inside of the castle with the various rooms and items of furniture. The teacher could prepare a large mural with the outline of the castle divided into rooms, together with the agreed furniture items. The pupils colour, cut and stick furniture in the rooms. Magic. The story has a magic harp and hen. What magic objects would the pupils like? To do what?...