based on The Thief and the Beanstalk
by P.W. Catanese
About the Book
The character Jack from the story Jack and the Beanstalk is an old man now and lives in a fortress designed to keep his wealth from his earlier adventures safe. Nick, a young thief, comes into Jacks life, and steals the beans from the famous beanstalk. His consuming curiosity to see if more wealth at the giants castle still exists draws him to plant the seeds. He plants them and they very quickly grow into a tall stalk, ending at a dark and mysterious cloud. He begins the ascent of the enormous plant where adventure, magic, and very real danger await him.
Set the Stage
Get students ready to read by showing the cover and talking about the title and pictures.
- Does the title of the book remind you of another story you may have read?
- What genre do you think this story is written in?
- What clues on the cover let you know for sure?
- Can you tell the time period in which the story takes place?
After the students have enjoyed the book, discuss this exciting adventure with the following questions:
- How are the stories Jack and the Beanstalk and The Thief and the Beanstalk similar? How are they different?
- Do you think Nick is a hero? Why?
- Why did Gulinda help Jack and Nick?
- What do you think happened to all the treasures that were left in the giants fortress?
- What information did the author give you early in the story to let you know that Nick wasnt ever going to truly fit in with Finch and his gang?
- Do you think that Jack will invite Nick to live with him? Why or Why not?
- Why did Jack paint pictures of his adventures on the cloud island and why did he want to paint ones of Nicks adventures? List the methods that people use today to help remember important events in their lives.
- Jack was greedy in that he took the treasure and kept going back for more. Then he left Gulinda and ended up living his life with a guilty conscious. How did Nick differ from Jack in that way? Do you think that Nick was greedy or was he more curious? Do you think that Nick will have a guilty conscious for the rest of his life?
This reproducible will check students understanding of chosen vocabulary words.
To extend students understanding of the story, try these:
- Map-Making: Working in cooperative groups, students will make a map of the cloud island. Be sure to include a legend, explaining symbols for the shore, mountain range and structures on the island. Dont forget to include where the beanstalk is.
- Watch Them Grow: Each student plants a bean seed in a small container such as a cup or empty milk carton. They can monitor the growth of each seed, measuring and recording the growth each day in a log.
- What Legends Are Made Of: Students will research legends and their origins, why they were written, and how much could be based on fact. They could think of their own legend using the information they learned from their research and write it for a class book.
- Picture This: Jack immortalized his adventures through paintings so detailed that they couldnt be made up from the imagination. Allow the students to think of a time when something happened to them so out of the ordinary, that people may not believe what they hear. They should illustrate the events so they tell the story.
- Not a Zoo: Many of the creatures on the cloud island are not anything Nick had ever seen before, such as the spider-heads. The children could think of a new creature by combining physical parts from two animals or coming up with one on their own. They could make their creatures out of clay, give them a name and display them in the classroom.