Elijah has always been a bit of a scaredy-cat. A bit of a Wemberly, if you will. So it is a bit surprising to me that one of his current favorite books is none other than the classic Jack and the Beanstalk. As you may be able to see above, it is the first story that has carried over into his artwork (That's the beanstalk on the left. Don't know what happened to the leaves.) We are reading this version, and it pulls no punches in the scariness department. Three times, Jack nearly gets eaten by the big, mean Giant before the Giant finally meets his demise at the bottom of the beanstalk. And because Elijah asks ten thousand questions each time we read it, I am pretty sure that he has at least a vague idea of what it would mean to grind someone's bones to make bread.
Elijah chose this book himself, and mercifully we have reached our renewal limit on it, so it will soon be headed back to the library. I tried to read him another version where the giant is not so much mean as misunderstood, but he would have none of it. Halfway through, he said, "I want the one with the mean giant." What is the deal with this?
In college, my roommates took a class on Grimm's fairy tales, which are, ahem, quite grim. Yet, they persist. There is something about the battle of good versus evil that resonates even with a three-year-old. Fe, fi, fo, fum, indeed.