Designed for competent young readers, Behind the Twisted Fence combines magic with the reality of young children and their curiosity. It has all the elements of an original fantasy, but uses the comforting tale of Jack and The Beanstalk as a background. In the Preface, James Hewitson explains how tales, such as these have been retold many times and therefore are susceptible to change. He stresses the important part of this story is the Magic that occurred to create the beans.
After Jack cut down the beanstalk, elders in the local community decided to put an end to Magic for the safety of their children. No one was to use or speak about Magic. For ten years this worked well, until an adventurous and curious young girl named Zelie began to explore her area widely. She came across a very overgrown fence in a place nearby which was forbidden to the children. By climbing a very large old tree, she could look over the fence and see what was there. The land was overgrown, but she could see an old house, and hear voices.
The explorations of Zelie escalate from here and each day she goes back to the forbidden area to learn more. By way of three gnomes she meets, Zelie discovers more about the inhabitants of the house and Magic abounds. The original Jack learns of Zelie’s adventures and together they rediscover the Giant and great danger abounds.
All the thrills of magic, adventure, and danger make this a fun read, with the comfort of a familiar tale in the background.