A Smugglerific Cover (& Giveaway): Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

Today we are delighted to unveil the charming cover for upcoming middle grade fantasy novel Jack by Liesl Shurtliff (who also happens to be the author of Rump, which Ana thoroughly enjoyed).

Behold: the Smugglerific Cover!

The Smugglerific Cover


Fans of Adam Gidwitz and Chris Colfer will give a GIANT cheer for this funny fairytale retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk!

Jack has always been told that giants are not real. But if that’s the case, how do you explain the huge, foot shaped pond in the yard, or the occurrence of strange and sudden storms in which the earth quakes and dirt rains from the sky? When his father is carried away in such a storm, Jack gives chase in the only logical way: by trading the family cow for some magic beans that will give him access to a land beyond the clouds. He arrives to find that the giants themselves have giant-sized troubles. With the help of an overachieving little sister, a magic goose and a chatty cook (who is not interested in grinding human bones into bread, thank you very much!) Jack sets out to save his dad and save the day.


Liesl Shurtliff on the Cover

In the traditional tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, I’m not inclined to think much of the hero Jack. He’s usually portrayed as a dim-witted, disobedient child who, out of sheer luck, happens upon a giant, steals all his riches, and then kills him.* Never mind that he uses the riches to relieve his poor mother, who undoubtedly deserves every comfort in the world after putting up with such a son. Why is this rascal a hero?

I’m going to tell you a little about my brother. He was what some might call a “problem child,” the class clown, full of pranks, many of which involved matches and a slingshot. We were only 16 months apart (I was the younger) and since he was prone to merciless teasing, I sometimes locked myself in the bathroom until my mom came home to rescue me. We were not the best of friends, my brother and I.

Right from the start, I used my brother as inspiration for my character Jack. They were kindred rascals, these boys who despise work and love pranks. But I knew that could not be the whole of Jack’s character. It might work in a short story, but no one wants to spend 300 pages with someone so lazy and selfish. I had to go deeper. Why is Jack such a rascal? What is driving him? His poverty? His mother? Or something else?

I should mention that my brother had the unfortunate position as the only boy in our family. It’s not easy being compared to three goody-two-shoes sisters, and when our parents divorced, my brother was further outnumbered. We all missed my dad being around all the time, but I think my brother took the brunt of the loss. I know now that behind his bad behavior was a lot of pain and frustration.

For Jack, if he was to be a rascal, then he too must have something behind all that. He had to have frustration and pain, hopes and fears. I also felt he should have at least one sister. Her name would be Annabella and she would be everything that Jack is not—sweet and gentle, a good and obedient child. Jack teases here relentlessly, but don’t worry. What goes around comes around, and in Jack’s case, it comes around in giant proportions.

When it came to the cover of Jack I really only had one request: Focus on the characters. Show us Jack and Annabella’s expressive faces. When I saw the coverfor the first time, I think I stared at it for a full five minutes. Not only did the artist capture Jack and Annabella to perfection, I almost wondered if he somehow knew my brother and me, because that’s exactly who I saw. I saw my brother as a twelve-year-old boy, full of adventure and mischief. I saw myself, timid, but desperate to prove I could keep up.

Today my brother is still mischievous and a little bit of a tease, but he’s also smart, funny, sensitive, and kind. He’s faced his own giants, and both failed and succeeded, but never given up. To me he’s all the thing I poured into my character Jack. I can’t wait for you to meet him on April 14, 2015. In the meantime, say hello to the perfect faces of Jack and his sister Annabella.

*In Benjamin Tabart’s version, Jack’s wealth was actually stolen by the giant, thereby justifying Jack’s thievery and murder, but Joseph Jacobs’ version is more widely told.


About the Author

Liesl Shurtliff (credit Chad Barth)

Liesl Shurtliff is the author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, which won over kids and critics alike, earning an IRA Award, a Texas Bluebonnet nomination, A Whitney Award nomination, and a starred review from Kirkus, proclaiming it “As good as gold.” She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children. Visit her at and on Twitter @LieslShurtliff.


The Giveaway

To celebrate the cover reveal, we are giving away a copy of Jack! This giveaway is open to addresses in the US only, and will run until Sunday, July 20 at 12:01am EST. To enter, use the form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • mrsblocko
    July 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I really enjoyed Cinder.

  • Sarah K.
    July 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

    My favorite fairy tale retelling is Ella Enchanted.

  • Pamela Blome
    July 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

    True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. I laughed and laughed at this book!!! Of course I always loved Fractured Fairy Tales on Saturday Mornings’ Bullwinkle show.

  • Anna
    July 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

    As a kid, I always loved the Gail Carson Levine retellings–especially Ella Enchanted and Cinderellis and the Glass Hill. I also read Just Ella about four thousand times when I was younger, so I think I must be a Cinderella girl at heart.

  • Courtney
    July 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

    So far, my favorite retelling is Beastly 🙂

  • Anita Yancey
    July 8, 2014 at 10:45 am

    So far my favorite is Cinderella. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  • Sara @ The Hiding Spot
    July 8, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I really love Adam Gidwitz’s books. But, if you count Karen Foxlee’s OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY as a retelling of The Snow Queen, I’d say that’s my favorite at the moment.

  • Shelley
    July 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I loved Rump and the Cinder series!

  • Mindy McGinnis
    July 8, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I absolutely adored RUMP and can’t wait to read JACK! Great work, Liesl – love the new cover!

  • Peggy Eddleman
    July 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    It’s definitely RUMP. Loved it!!

  • Dina
    July 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Aaah, I’m so excited. I am currently in an insane fairy tale reading frenzy so this book comes at just the right moment. I still have to read Rump but the covers alone make me want to pick these books up.

  • Dina
    July 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Oh, forgot to say: My favorite fairy tale retelling is probably three books (yes, I know that’s cheating).
    Sarah Pinborough’s amazing Charm, Beauty, and Poison.
    They’re dark, sexy, feminist retellings of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Please don’t make me pick a favorite.

  • Cristy C
    July 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    The book that comes to mind for me is Ella Enchanted. I really enjoyed it as a young girl.

  • Melissa
    July 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Truly, I think Rump wins out for my favorite fairy tale retell. My students will be ecstatic to hear news about Jack when we get back to school…I wish I could share this post with them now!

  • jpetroroy
    July 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Ash by Malindo Lo

  • Ashley
    July 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    My students and I read Rump this year! I absolutely loved it. We even started a small group that was reading fairy tale retellings because of it!

  • Mary Anne
    July 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Always with the “favorite” questions! One of my favorites is the Robin McKinley first recounting of Beauty and the Beast – “Beauty.” The ending was a little rushed and flat but the rest was awesome. I also liked Intisar Khanani’s “Thorn”, a retelling of the Goose Girl.

  • Kristen
    July 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    My favorite retelling – that’s a tough one. I kinda love The Goose Girl by SHannon Hale and Rapunzel’s Revenge by the same amazing author.

  • Amy Mays
    July 8, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Cruel Beauty! I love beauty and the beast.

  • scribe k.
    July 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    a long long sleep

  • Betsy
    July 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Rump, of course!

  • Danielle
    July 8, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I love Ash by Malinda Lo. Amazing, beautiful retelling of Cinderella.

  • Nicole
    July 8, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Gosh it’s been a long time, but I remember liking Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley quite an awful lot when I still had it.

  • Hannah
    July 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    That’s a tough one- this is one of my favorite types of story! I’ll have to say Birdwing by Rafe Martin. It’s the story of what happened after “The Six Swan Brothers” told from the perspective of the youngest brother- the one who didn’t escape the curse unscathed; the one who ended the story with one white wing in the place of an arm.

  • Trisha Warner
    July 8, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    My daughter “hand sells” Rump to every friend she has!

  • Myrna Foster
    July 9, 2014 at 2:00 am

    I love the cover. Can’t wait to read it.

    My favorite fairy tale retelling is probably Wildwood Dancing, but it’s really hard to pick just one.

  • Michele Knott
    July 9, 2014 at 6:00 am

    When we saw the cover yesterday, there was a collective gasp! Favorite retelling? Too many! Liesl has done a amazing job, I’ve enjoyed Adam gidwitz and Chris colfer’s stories. I love the show Once Upon a Time. Glad to see this resurgence of fairy tale stories.

  • Katharine
    July 9, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Our school library just purchased Rump and I’m looking forward to reading that and Jack too! Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Kim
    July 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

    My favorite retelling is Ella Enchanted–I adore that book!

    Oooh. But I also love love love Shannon Hale’s novels.

    I’ll say Goose Girl and Ella Enchanted even though that might be cheating.

  • Kristin Lenz
    July 9, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Sounds like a great book for my daughter – thanks!

  • Karena
    July 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    There are so many good fairytale re-tellings, but I have to go with Rump:The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. I like how Liesl was able to take a fairytale villain and make him a hero and still be true to the original story.

  • Lillian Maloney
    July 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    My favorite fairy tale retelling so far is Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.

  • lisa
    July 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I’ll have to check out Rump. I really like A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, Cinder, and anything by Robin McKinley.

  • Michelle
    July 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I have to say that Rump is my all time favorite fairy tale retelling!!

  • Amy @ Sunlit Pages
    July 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Rump, so I’m excited about this new one!

    I love Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.

  • Kate
    July 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I can’t wait to read this! I loved RUMP!

  • Jaana
    July 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Three Little Pigs. The message is always there!

  • YvonneJ
    July 9, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Rump….I recommend it every chance I get.

  • Justine
    July 10, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Ella Enchanted (the book, not the movie) is my favorite retelling.

  • Joel
    July 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon Hale

  • Zinnia
    July 11, 2014 at 12:04 am

    There are so many good ones but my new faves are Rump and The Wishing Spell.

  • Becky
    July 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I can’t pick just one! So many good ones! I love many that have been discussed including Rump, Cinder, Ella Enchanted, the True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and many more. I can’t wait for Jack!

  • Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
    July 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Two more votes for Ella Enchanted, and Beauty by Robin McKinley. I must read Rump — and Jack!

  • Emilia
    July 13, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I just finished the Cinder series, so that is probably my favorite right now.

  • Suzanne Gibbs
    July 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I love RUMP! My fourth grade students fell in LOVE with the book and we’re all waiting (with bated breath) for JACK!! Leisl is a very special person and author. So glad to have had her in our classroom and at NerdCamp Jr! this year!!

  • Montana Leigers
    July 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I love Rump! My favorite part was when he figured out his full name. Bork was my favorite troll and so wise too! My favorite character was Red. I can’t wait for her story to be written too!

  • Angie D
    July 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Rump and Cinder

  • Suzanne Tanner
    July 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    I loved Rump, and I’m so excited to read Jack! Beautiful cover.

  • Laura
    July 19, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber is a fantastic retelling of Bluebeard. That whole book is amazing. If anyone hasn’t read Carter yet, absolutely do.

  • Anonymous
    December 11, 2014 at 5:40 pm


  • Anonymous
    December 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm


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