The Jack Tales
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Jack Tales

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A collection of folk tales from the southern Appalachians that center on a single character, the irrepressible Jack.

Book Details: Format: Paperback Publication Date: 8/25/2003 Pages: 240 Reading Level: Age 10 and Up
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 25th 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1943)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Grimms' Fairy Tales by Jacob GrimmSaint George and the Dragon by Margaret HodgesLittle Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart HymanThe Jack Tales by Richard ChaseGoldilocks and the Three Bears by Jan Brett
Best Classic Folk Tales
4th out of 67 books — 8 voters
The World Above by Cameron DokeyCrazy Jack by Donna Jo NapoliJack of Kinrowan by Charles de LintKate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope OsborneThe Thief and the Beanstalk by P.W. Catanese
Jack and the Beanstalk
9th out of 44 books — 8 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 260)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
During my last 30 years as an elderhostel instructor, this book has been a primary resource. Chase 'collected' most of his stories directly from mountain folks, and he completed this collection at a very significant time. The oral tradition was fading, primarily because no one told stories to the family after the advent of TV. Consequently, when Chase began his collection of old traditional Jack tales, the stories were already fading from the memories of Applachia's elderly. In many instances, C...more
Mary Catelli
A collection of folktales from North Carolina and Virginia, all featuring a hero named Jack.

Not all of them are consistent with each other, one narrator even commenting on the marriage problem, but they are also not independent of each other -- Jack, for instance, often has two brother named Will and Tom.

But Jack doesn't just climb the beanstalk. He also deals with robbers -- is oppressed by his employer and helped by a magical bull -- stays all night in a mill and sternly forbids a cat to sop i...more
This is a topic that I love and look into from time to time. These are so different than the tales of chivalry and knitehood. Jack, the rascally character, gains his endeavors by trickery, cheating, luck, or whatever works. He is not highly born but a poor mountain lad who faces giants, devils, and cruelty. There is no code for his behavior, just survival. I love this oral tradition in literature, and though these tales were compiled in the early part of the twentieth century, their preservation...more
Adam Rabiner
I first read this book in 1982 as a sophomore in high school taking a folklore and mythology course at Harvard Summer School. Back then, while enjoyable, it was an academic affair, leading to papers and comp lit. What a difference from my recent out loud readings to my six year old son. Speaking the words in the Appalachian dialect which Chase captures, I couldn't help having a southern drawl. Jack remains the quintessential Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn: clever, mischievous, cunning, successful and n...more
John Bemis
Bizarre, violent, and completely hilarious. As a kid, I checked this book out over and over from the library. (I own a tattered copy now.) I was constantly pulled back by Jack's unfaltering sense of self and his ability to never get fazed - whether he's facing a three-headed man-eating giant wandering the Appalachian backwoods or whether he's given some strange, impossible task by a hillbilly king. A world far more rich and interesting than 99% of the fantasy books out there.
These stories take me back to sitting around the fire in the back yard, eating roasted marshmallows, or sitting on the front porch swing with the family after a big meal of garden foods and listening to these stories of Jack....told to us, not out of a book, but as a story....just like Jack was a long, lost cousin..... It's really fun to read this stuff and to remember that I actually heard some of these stories from my family growing up! Awesome!!
JG (The Introverted Reader)
You know Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk? He got up to much more than just giant-killing. If I remember correctly, Richard Chase traveled around the southern Appalachians collecting all the Jack stories that had been passed down in the oral tradition for generations and this is the result. They probably get kind of predictable, but we used to fight over who got to check this out of our school library. This book was a lot of fun.
Delightful. Three of the stories, "Jack and the Bull," "Jack and King Marock" (my favorite, I think - Jack gambles with a 'roguish kind of feller' who may be the Devil) and "Soldier Jack" (Ray Hicks memorably tells this tale in the Scots-Irish episode of Story of English) were recorded in Wise County, Virginia, whence hail my father's folks. Chewy, tasty language (insert cornpone metaphor here).
Hayley Smith-Kirkham
I started reading a few of these stories at night before bed to replace my terrible Netflix routine and it's started a good habit. I'd been reading some Grimm's fairy tales prior and I enjoyed finding some of the same tropes in the Jack tales (the looking glass to see Death, the group of men each with some talent who outwit the King, etc).
What fun! I think we got most of the way through this before it was due back at the library. My husband who grew up in North Carolina read these to me and I do love how unfazed Jack is by pretty much everything. Just takes care of what needs to be done. I was surprised at how many tales had familiar parts from the spinoffs I had heard.

I've tried to read this collection of stories about a young man named Jack, but because the setting for all the stories take place during what I guess is the eighteenth centuryy in the Appalachian Mountain region, the English is hard to follow. Also like what my English teacher says,"life's too short to read books you don't enjoy!"
Aug 21, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Appalachian studies readers; folklore readers
The Jack Tales are English folktales that were brought to Appalachia. Unfortunately Richard Chase was a sort of J. Frank Dobie figure, not recording the tales faithfully but trying to make them "literary" instead. Despite this romantic regionalism, he does give us some very well-told folktales.
This is a Christmas gift for Jack, but after reading a couple of the stories, I'm not sure Jack's mom will enjoy reading the fables aloud to him considering the heavy southern accent the narration uses.

So maybe he'll read it himself in 10 years?
This book has helped shape my world view. I've been reading it since I was a little Aaron, going to summer camp. Seriously, bring over a couple beers and I'll read you the whole thing, all the stories, complete with voices.
Rick Davis
Great fun. They remind me of granddad's stories.
Full review here:
June Morgan
These tales are old, but they make for wonderful read alouds and introducing dialect.
This collection shows the evolution of mythology from one culture to another.
An excellent retelling of folktales from the southern Appalachians.
Heather Greenlee
Jan 22, 2008 Heather Greenlee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Amy Knutson
These are great stories, written in the Appalachian dialect.
These are a favorite to be read aroud the campfire.
My children will know these. <3
Jennifer marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2014
John Bush
John Bush marked it as to-read
Jul 08, 2014
Brian marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2014
Cara marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Grandfather Tales: American-English Folk Tales The American Novel and Its Tradition American Folk Tales and Songs Jack and the Three Sillies Singing Games and Playparty Games

Share This Book