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Look out, Jack! The Giant is Back!

Wham blam hickity hack! I'm gonna get that boy named Jack! He now be living, but soon he'll roast! I'll spread him with mustard, and eat him on toast!
Look Out, Jack! The Giant is Back!

Last you heard of Jack, he’d killed the giant and taken the hen that lays golden eggs. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The giant’s brother was steaming mad — and after Jack’s hide. So Jack hightailed it to America, where he set up a little home with his mother, happy as you please.

But a giant doesn’t give up so easily. Lickety-split he is at Jack’s doorstep, mad as a rained-on rooster. As soon as Jack can say “Uh-oh,” he hatches a plan to save his skin . . . but will he be a match for the giant?`

2001 Recommended Picture Book by Parents Choice Foundation

Storytelling World 2002 Award

Oppenheim Best Book Award – Gold

Indiana 2004 Hoosier Book Award Nominee

Oregon Reading Association Patricia Callagher 2004 Picture Book Award Winner

“Kids who thought Jack did away with the ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’ giant when the beanstalk came down are in for a surprise . . . Just right for small groups.”  -Booklist

“Birdseye has an easy, flavorful style . . . Kid-appealing color . . . An enjoyable adventure with a classic hero.”  -The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Artist Will Hillenbrand’s daffy illustrations are a perfect match for Tom Birdseye’s words. Kids will enjoy this suspense-filled romp.”  -Parents Choice Foundation

“Full of tall-tale exaggerations and dramatic page turns . . . Kids will revel in the gross pictures and the equally disgusting belching and the giant’s secret weapon, stinky feet . . . Great fun.”  -Kirkus Reviews

“Rollicking sequel . . . Lively, humor-filled illustrations . . . Wham blam hickity hack, readers will love this tale about Jack.”  -School Library Journal


Like going all the way around the block just to get next door, this book did lots of traveling before it arrived at it’s final destination. It began after I visited several schools with particularly dynamic librarians. They were so inspiring to kids that they inspired me, too. I decided to write a story about one such champion of books, and do it as a tall tale.

MARIAN THE LIBRARIAN had several good moments, but no matter how hard I tried, it ultimately fizzled. I played around with a number of variations, which slowly tall-tale morphed — don’t ask me how — into CASCADE AND BIGFOOT then CASCADE AND THE GOBBLER GIANT. Things were looking up, but not up enough. I began to consider dumping the project altogether and starting something completely new.

As so often happens when I get bogged down, it was a friend (who is also a great editor) that got me going again. She suggested that I try experimenting with the story as a Appalachian Jack tale. Flash, the lights went back on! I struggled through several false starts, and had to rewrite a BUNCH, but perserverance paid off as LOOK OUT JACK! THE GIANT IS BACK! was born.

P.S. Kids ask about the giant’s stinky feet. “Where did you get that idea?” they want to know. My wife, Debbie, has three brothers, one of which, David, pestered her a lot when they were little. He’d pop his knuckles by her ear, burp really loud, and make farting sounds under his arm. But the worst was when he’d kick off his shoes and wave his smelly toes in her face. At the time she didn’t like it, but now looks back and thinks it’s funny. So do I. Writing it into the story was one of the best parts for me!