Daft Jack and the Bean Stack ¦ Cinderboy
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The cover of this issue is a design incorporating illustrations from four books illustrated by the subject of our Authorgraph, Ian Beck. The top left illustration is from Five Little Ducks (Orchard), the top right from Poppy and Pip's Picnic (to be published Autumn '97 by HarperCollins), the bottom left from The Owl and the Pussy-cat (Transworld) and the bottom right from Home Before Dark (to be published September '97 by Scholastic). Ian Beck's Picture Book (Hippo) is reviewed in this issue.
Beck talks to BfK's interviewer, Julia Eccleshare, also in this issue. His distinctive decorative style with its sensitive pen line and cross hatching has a nostalgic but sometimes also a surreal quality - he describes it as 'a look that is floating, strong and wistful all at the same time'.
Thanks to Orchard, HarperCollins, Transworld and Scholastic for their help in producing this composite cover.
Daft Jack and the Bean Stack
Illustrated by Arthur Robins
Many writers have used traditional stories as inspiration for their own alternative versions and Anholt gives a 'seriously silly' pantomime treatment to Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. In Cinderboy, Cinders lives in a football crazy household with his wicked stepdad and two lazy stepbrothers who spend all their time watching Royal Palace on the box. Poor Cinderboy has to wait on them hand and foot and is never allowed to watch matches. But, thanks to his TV godmother, he does see a lot of the ball and helps his beloved team to victory in the cup final.
Daft Jack and his mother lived under a cow in a field: 'His mum slept at the front end . . . and Jack slept at the udder end.' In this side-splitting tale we learn how Jack and his mother swap their exclusive milk diet for one of baked beans, how Jack builds his beanstack and weans the giant from his exclusive diet of children.
The liberties taken with the stories and their general silliness should seduce even the most reluctant readers over seven. The text is never overwhelming thanks to Arthur Robins' black and white cartoony illustrations which are adult in style with action and humour aplenty and were clearly executed with much enjoyment. This excellent production should run and run.