A Modern Take on Jack and the Beanstalk


The Boy With 17 Senses by Sheila Grau is a book that aligns with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The book takes place on a planet named Yipsmix where everyone has synthesia. Synthesia is a rare condition in which the stimulation of one sense will trigger another. For example, hearing things might trigger a taste in your mouth or seeing a color might make you hear something.
The main character, Jaq Rollop, lives on a small farm with his grandfather and his mother. Jaq’s grandfather used to be wealthy and owned a big farm, but was forced to sell it to a family named, The Vilcots. The Vilcots are the Rollop’s neighbors and make their lives as hard as possible.
After discovering a pest living on their farm, Jaq acquires a pet freasel to get rid of it. When the Vilcots see the freasel they want to it so they hire someone to get the pet. One day Jaq meets the man employed by the Vilcots who trades a seemingly worthless key for his pet.
Like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Jaq is able to travel to another world because of what he got from what seemed like a terrible trade at first. The other world is Earth. Earth is the opposite of Yipsmix and is filled with giants, lots of colors, and sounds. When Jaq’s crops die he is forced to enter the terrifiying world that he discovered from the portal in order to save his familie’s farm.
Overall, The Boy With 17 Senses was a good book the whole 17 senses thing didn’t add very much to the overall plot. The book doesn’t expand on many of the senses beyond a few. I’m not really sure how the author came up with 17 senses. It seems like she counted things like a sense of direction as a main sense instead of just having things like touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing.
If you are looking for a classical story with a new twist this would be a book that you may enjoy. However if ou want something with a deeper plot this would not make the cut. The plot is very basic. The book is 250 pages long which is good length for telling the story.The vocabulary in the book is mostly very easy however, the author does utilize words some uncommon terms such as, “beseeches.” This book is rated for ages 9-12.