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Story Ideas

There are many different ways to tell a story. Look at a number of different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk and pick a major event in the story, for example between Jack arriving at the castle for the first time, or his first escape from the giant.  Compare the different versions of the story at this point and then discuss the variations further. These are some of the versions we used, or you could find your own:

Briggs, R. (1970) Jim and the Beanstalk, London, Penguin.
– This story takes place long after Jack has visited the giant, this time the little boy is Jim and he helps the giant to obtain a pair of glasses, a wig and a set of false teeth, which might have been a mistake considering he’s a man eating giant!?

Donaldson, J. (2004) The Giants and the Joneses, London: Egmont.
– This is a very alternative giant story that features a giant little girl. This chapter book plays wonderfully with imaginative language such as bimplestonk instead of beanstalk and iggly plops instead of humans!

Godwin, W. (2009) Jack and the Beanstalk, Berkshire: Classic Comic Store Ltd.
– This is a graphic novel that is quite traditional however this version includes Jack in various disguises in order to trick the giant’s maid.

Hoena, B. & Tercio, R. (2009) The Graphic Novel: Jack and the Beanstalk, Minnesota: Stone Arch Books.
– A very modern style graphic novel with characters reminiscent of video games, this is a very engaging version of the traditional tale.

Walker, R. & Sharkey, N. (1999) Jack and the Beanstalk, Bath: Barefoot Books.
– A beautiful illustrated retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk with a springy stalk that sends the giant flying in to space and a maid who comes home with Jack.

You can find out more about the history and different versions of the story by following this link


  • How do these versions of the story differ?
  • What things do the stories have in common?
  • How do the stories make us feel about the characters in it?
  • What makes us feel this way and why?
  • If you were to write your own version of the story how would it end and why?


Telling the story in your own words

The story of Jack and the Beanstalk has appeared in lots of different forms throughout the years, and each time it is told elements of the story change.  A lot of the time, these changes can be to do with the point of view that the story is being told from.

One Word Stories

Sit in a circle, each person takes it in turns to say the next word in Jack and the Beanstalk (this can also work with other well known stories such as the three bears, red riding hood or similar), sometimes the word will be obvious (in, a, of, the) and sometimes the next word will have great effect on the next bit of the story.

  • Split the class into groups of four and number each person 1 to 4
  • Number ones will start the game
  • When they are told to do so number ones will start tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in their own words.
  • At regular intervals the teacher shouts ‘Change’ and the next person in the group must take on the narrator role, continuing the story from the exact point that the previous person left off.

Once 1,2, 3, and 4 have had a go, the children can try and tell the story from different perspectives:

  • A villager who lived in Jack’s village
  • The maid telling her version of the story to her daughter in giant land
  • The pedlar telling his version of the story in the next town that he comes to
  • A giant telling its children why humans are trouble

Now discuss the exercise as a class.  How does the story change?  What happens with each different person who tells the story?  Which bits got left out or added and why?

Write on exercise

You could add another dimension to the story telling by writing the story as if it were a letter from one character to someone else. It may be a character that we have already encountered in the story or perhaps it is a new character entirely. How does who you are writing to change the way that the story is told?


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