Beanstalk book cover image

The Measure of a Giant

  • 795

By: Ann McCallum / Illustrated by: James Balkovek

In this new spin on the classic tale, Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds a giant friend.

When Jack befriends Ray, the giant's son, they use measurement and diagrams to figure out how to make adjustments to their favorite games in order to accommodate the difference in their sizes.

Humorous illustrations clearly show their math problems and how they solve them.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Ann McCallum, author

Ann McCallum is the author of several books, including Eat Your Math Homework; Eat Your Science Homework; Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere; and Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant. She is currently a high school teacher in Maryland, though she started her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in northern Canada. She also taught English composition in the United Arab Emirates for five years. Ann enjoys reading, traveling, and walking through leaves, and hopes, one day, to climb a beanstalk.

Read more about Ann McCallum.

James Balkovek, illustrator

For over twenty years, James Balkovek has illustrated books, videos, and advertisements.

Born and raised in Northern California, James decided when he was 12 that he wanted to be an artist. After graduating from Central Valley High School in 1975, James enrolled at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, where he majored in illustration. "I chose to become an illustrator through a love for the children's books and magazines I used to read, with illustrations by Sendak, Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell," he said. James has illustrated over 150 books, ranging in subjects from fairy tales, education and cooking.

Read more about James.

Editorial Reviews:

The School Run - June 24, 2015

Can a four-foot boy and a twenty-foot giant ever be friends? Find out how ratio, the relationship between the size of two things, helps them to play games and have a picnic together in a story of measurements and fairness.

A Moment in Our World (

Our boys love reading, so when we were given the opportunity to review Beanstalk: The Measure of A Giant, written by Ann McCallum from Ann McCallum Books, our boys were really ecstatic.

Beanstalk: The Measure of A Giant is a spin off of the classic Jack in the Beanstalk story that teaches kids about ratios and proportions. In this 32-page book, Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds a lonely giant. The two young boys become firm friends but have difficultly playing together due to their size. What works for Jack will not work for the Giant. By using their math skills, they work out that the Giant is five times bigger than Jack.

Through the lovely illustrations and the adventurous story, children are able to see and understand how the two characters work together to figure out the giant to human size ratio.

How did we go?

On opening our package, this book was immediately taken from my hands before I had the chance to even look at it! Both of our boys have read and re-read this book many times, it keeps disappearing and reappearing all around the caravan.

Recommended for children in Grades 3-5 (ages 7-10), both our boys read it many times on their own before we before we sat down to go through it together.

While looking through Ann McCallum‘s website, I came across some lesson plans and activities which gave the boys an opportunity to put into practice some of the skills they read about in the book. One of the activities for children was to make giant sized cookies. Our boys really enjoyed eating their large cookies.

Overall, this is a really neat math adventure book about ratios and proportions and is a very fun way to introduce children to math concepts.

Ann McCallum is a math teacher and an award-winning author. Five of the books she has written are being reviewed by the Crew, so don’t forget to check out the rest of the Schoolhouse Crew Reviews.


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-57091-894-0

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-153-6
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 7-10
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 9 1/2

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