A Handful of Beans: Six Fairy Tales Retold by Jeanne Steig with Illustrations by Wiliam Steig

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9780062051622: A Handful of Beans: Six Fairy Tales Retold by Jeanne Steig with Illustrations by Wiliam Steig

Six fairy tales are told anew,And spiced with picturesquite a few.It took a pair of Steigs to do 'em: 'Twas Jeanne who wrote 'em. William drew 'em. Here's Rumpelstiltskin, in a rage; The Frog Prince hops right off the page; Hansel and Gretel thwart the witch; Jack slays the giant (and gets rich); Red Riding Hood and Gram survive; The Beast and Beauty wed, and thrive. That's quite enough. The book's a killer. To say more would be idle filler.

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Review:

What is A Handful of Beans? Six classics in one book: "Rumpelstiltskin," "Beauty and the Beast," "Hansel and Gretel," "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Frog Prince," and "Jack and the Beanstalk." As retold by Jeanne Steig, however, these well-loved tales acquire a certain modern vim. For example, the greedy King in Rumpelstiltskin is "as happy as a hog with a herring" to see all his straw spun into gold. The mother of Beanstalk Jack has "a dab of a garden, and an old cow called Blizzard, because she was as white as the milk she gave, except for a few spots to make her more interesting." Although the vocabulary is generally simple, Steig doesn't shy away from words like "sauntered" and "rapacious." And the Frog-who-would-be-Prince, among other characters, regularly breaks into rhyming couplets. Combined with 34 colorful, cartoony illustrations by William Steig, this gently ironic smattering of folktales will delight the grumpiest of readers. (Ages 3 to 6) --Richard Farr

About the Author:

Jeanne Steig is the author of several books of light verse and prose, including Alpha Beta Chowder; A Handful of Beans, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; and A Gift from Zeus: Sixteen Favorite Myths, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book. Ms. Steig is also a self-taught visual artist, working almost exclusively in street finds and other discarded materials. She lives with her husband, William Steig, in Boston, Massachusetts.



William Steig's drawings appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1930. He also wrote and illustrated books for children, most recently his memoir, When Everybody Wore a Hat. His other books include Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, winner of the Caldecott Medal; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book; and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books; Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa; Pete's A Pizza; and Zeke Pippin.

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