Jack and the Magic Beans

story by Bill Condon , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intention: 

I am learning how to compare texts with similar ideas so that I can explain the effects of different approaches. 

Success criteria: 

  • I can identify similarities between two selected texts. 
  • I can predict the events of a text based on intertextual references. 
  • I can explain the effects of the differences between the two selected texts.  

Essential knowledge: 

Information about the relationship between texts can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Intertextuality. 

Without reading the title or allowing students to see the story, read aloud the first two paragraphs, stopping at: 

‘…pay their bills and buy their food.’ 

Ask students if they recognise aspects of the story. If students suggest Jack and the Beanstalk, continue to read without affirming. If students cannot guess, continue reading. 


Read the rest of page 23, stopping at: 

‘What kind of magic would you give me for my cow?’ he asked. 

Ask students what they think the wizard would give Jack for his cow. When students identify magic beans, have a class discussion about what elements might appear in the rest of the story and write their answers on the board. Refer to the English Textual Concepts video Intertextuality for guidance. 


Answers might include: 

  • A giant beanstalk 
  • A giant 
  • Fee Fi Fo Fum 
  • Jack stealing from the giant (students might remember specific items such as the golden goose and talking harp) 
  • Jack cutting down the beanstalk 
  • The giant falling to his death 

Continue reading up to the start of page 25, stopping at: 

‘…we’ll work out a way to get out of this mess.’ 

Ask students if they expected Jack’s mother to be kind, and if not, why not? Students should identify that in the common tale, his mother is furious. Ask students why the author might have made this change. Students could suggest modern retellings give more humanity to the characters. Guide them towards the idea that this change is hinting at more changes to come. Ask if they’d like to revise their ideas about what elements might appear in the rest of the story. 

Read up to page 26, stopping at: 

‘Why do you want to scare people off?’ 

Tell students to write a prediction in their books. Why does the giant want to scare people off? Students can share their answers with their partners when they’re done. 

Continue reading until the giant introduces himself as Biggun and ask if any students’ predictions were correct. Ask students to write a prediction on what might happen next in the story. They can share with a partner when they’re done. 

Continue to read the story until the end. Check to see if anyone’s predictions were correct. Ask if the events of the story surprised them, and if so, why. Students should identify that while this story started out similar to Jack and the Beanstalk, it ended differently. 

Students are to fill out a table or chart in their books with the headings Same, Different and Thoughts. Using the elements written on the board, students note what was the same between the two stories, what was different and what effect the new story had on their expectations. Ask whether they liked or disliked the changes and to give reasons for their answers.