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The Thief and the Beanstalk (Further Tales Adventures) Paperback – 16 Aug 2005
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About the Author
P. W. Catanese is the author of ten fantasy-adventure novels. His books have been received with critical acclaim and have been translated into five foreign languages. His Books of Umber trilogy has been nominated for six regional book awards, including the Texas Bluebonnet award, the Florida s Sunshine State Young Readers award, and the Pacific Northwest Library Association s Young Reader s Choice awards. He lives in Connecticut. When he s not writing books, Catanese draws cartoons, works for an advertising agency, and tries very hard to respond to every message from his readers. Meet him at PWCatanese.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
I enjoyed Thief and the Beanstalk immensely. PW Catanese has this way with creating wonderful characters. Usually for the intended age group, characters can be stiff and very stereotypical, but PW Catanese offers us fresh and imaginative characters to adventure with. I think his work is definitely worthy of five stars.
I did have a complaint, though completely unrelated to PW Catanese's writing.
If I could rate the company in charge of making these wonderful books into Kindle editions, I'd give them ONE star. Understandably, older, cheaper books available on the kindle are digitized and not proofread for mistakes, but this isn't an old and cheap book. The digitized version of Thief and the Beanstalk had obvious errors--a lack of punctuation, the tell-tale confusion between the letters r and n, frequent formatting errors and typos. Quite a few times I was pulled out of the story due to confusion when a comma or period was missing from a sentence. Where, may I ask, are the proofreaders? I felt the lack of care in formatting this novel for ebook readers was a blatant disrespect to the readers and to the writer himself. If you're going to charge nearly the same amount as the printed books, I expect care be put in to the way those ebooks look. I hesitated in purchasing the next book in the series because of these obvious errors, but I want to continue supporting Catanese because he is such an imaginative writer (and a great guy to his fans) so I bought the next book anyway.
Don't let the kindle errors stop you from buying this fun, adventurous novel. Especially if you enjoyed his Tales of Umber series... you're in for quite a few surprises!
Plot: 4/5 After reading several books by the same person, I could sort of tell where it was going, but I still really enjoyed it.
Characters: 4/5 Not as fleshed out as most of his other characters.
Setting:5/5 Excellent as always.
Writing style: 4/5 Pretty good, but not as dramatic or well written as most of his later novels. (I actually put this one down without spending several minutes convincing myself first).
All in all, this was a great novel especially considering that this was the first by this author, but if you read the Books of Umber first, don't expect this to be as good. It's for a younger audience and simpler.