Book Review - The Smartest Giant in Town
Posted on Monday, February 18 2019 11:49:00 AM in JOURNAL by Aparna Vasudevan
The Smartest Giant in Town, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated in brilliant detail by Axel Scheffler, is the tale of George, the scruffy giant who tries to smarten up with some new clothes and accessories but inadvertently ends up giving up each new item of clothing in various acts of kindness to animals who desperately need his help.
George is a scruffy giant who wants to smarten up, and when he sees the new shop in town carrying giant sizes, he gets himself a new shirt, trousers, belt, tie, socks and a pair of shiny shoes. But while he is en route home, he meets some animals who are feeling miserable. The kind and considerate George stops and empathizes with the animals by asking them why they are upset, and it so happens that his new accessories and clothes are just what the animals need to remedy their unhappiness.
And that’s how George’s new tie ends up becoming a scarf for the giraffe, whose long neck feels cold; his new shirt is now the sail for a boat, one of his new shoes becomes a house for a mouse family, whose house burned down; one of his socks become a sleeping bag for a fox whose sleeping bag became wet; and his belt makes a bridge for the dog, who had difficulty crossing a bog. The story ends with George back in his scruffy clothes again, and while he is not the smartest giant in town anymore, he is definitely the coziest giant in town, or so he thinks - that is until, he reaches home. When George reaches home, he is thrilled to see all the animals he helped at his doorstep, who surprise him with a thank you present and a note. And that’s how George becomes the kindest giant in town!
What we loved about the book – The Smartest Giant in Town is everything you would look for in a children’s book. It teaches love for others, kindness, empathy, and gratitude to kids, without being preachy. There is also the unspoken message that what matters more than what you have is who you are and what you do. Julia Donaldson’s repetitive prose is catchy as is George, the giant’s cumulative song and Axel Scheffler’s rich and vivid illustrations are humorously detailed, making this a book with excellent repeat value. Look out for the offbeat illustrations that refer to characters from traditional tales and nursery rhymes like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "The Frog Prince", "Three Little Pigs", "Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" and random dwarfs and giants all over the pages in the background.
Publisher’s age recommendation – 5+ years, but we, at the Nestery, feel that this book will be a draw for younger age groups as well, owing to the self explanatory nature of the quirky illustrations.
The Smartest Giant in Town is published by Macmillan Children’s Books.