I'm looking for a juvenile fantasy novel, written in English, with at least a few interior illustrations, which I borrowed from a library sometime in the early-to-mid 1980s. I found it very entertaining at the time, and I'd like to check up on it and see if I still like it today. The problem is that I remember precious little about the details of the plot.
Here's the bits and pieces that I do recall:
It was set in a medieval fantasy world where some of the famous fairy tales of the Western world were matters of historical fact.
It was aimed at a juvenile audience. (I was maybe 10 at the time I first read it, and I suspect that "kids around 10 or 12, and still fond of fairy tales" were the intended target audience.)
The most distinctive thing that I recall about the plot is this: The boy who is the main character becomes acquainted with two legendary heroes: "Jack and Jack." More specifically, one of these men is the title character from "Jack and the Beanstalk," and the other guy is "Jack the Giant-Slayer," who fought and killed seven giants (each in a separate encounter) in another classic fairy tale. But several decades have rolled past since those events, and now the Jacks are old men. They live quietly in a cave (or some other remote location), and they still have some of the special equipment acquired in their younger days (such as magic items taken from their defeated foes). I believe at least one or two such items are handed over to the young hero to get him off to a good start.
This is important because the young hero (an original character) has just learned that he is supposed to go on a Very Important Quest. I don't recall how he got stuck with the job in the first place, nor am I clear on what the quest was all about! Possibly he was meant to find and kill a troublemaking giant as part of the mission -- but that's sheer speculation on my part, based largely on my recollection that these two veteran giant-killers are supposed to help him prepare for it (instead of, say, stars of other fairy tales who had fought other types of foes).
I'm sure the tale had a happy ending, but I don't remember a thing about what the hero actually did to gain a "victory." Nor what sort of rewards he received for his trouble! I hope he received something, though. (I have the distinct impression that he was just your typical commoner when this started, probably from a peasant family -- definitely not raised as a prince, nor as any type of nobility.)