From the Publisher
“An exciting story with a subtle message about respect and cooperation.” School Library Journal
“Whether read aloud or alone, this British import has an effervescent sincerity that makes it both enjoyable and memorable.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“The Giants and the Joneses had humour, suspense and an invented language that enthralled me.” The Evening Standard (London)
“Children will love this miniaturised adventure . . . it's set to be a giant hit.” The Herald (England)
Jumbeelia the young giantess loves to hear the old story about the iggly plop who climbed up the bimplestonk to the giants' land of Groil. Then one day, she throws a bimple over the edge of Groil… With its wit, suspense, and invented words, this miniaturized adventure will delight young readers of Harry Potter.
In just under 200 pages, the author gives reality to the world of giants, develops four sympathetic characters, presents two sets of difficult sibling relationships, packs in fantastical adventures, adds suspense, and invents a language. The giant, Jumbeelia, feels like her mother does not understand her. The mother can not fathom why her daughter likes to hear the story about that horrible "iggly plop," Jack. What does "iggle plop" mean? Turning to the back page of Donaldson's novel to find the Groilish-English dictionary, the reader finds it means little human. Jumbeelia loves little humans so much that she plants a bimple (bean), goes down a bimplestonk (beanstalk), and kidnaps three iggly plops. Stephen, Collette, and their baby sister Poppy are not happy about this kidnapping. These three humans do a lot of fighting at home. Now they need to band together to escape Jumbeelia's sloppy kisses, her brother Zab's cruelty, and to understand how to reach home again. The plot lines may not be all that original, but genius lies in the way Donaldson puts them together. This invented language has such syntactical sense that the reader quickly begins to know both languages. The reader realizes that giants and small creatures may look different, but that children of all sizes have the same kinds of problems. 2005, Holt, Ages 8 to 10.
Children's Literature - Sue Reichard
This prolific author has once again hit a bullseye when it comes to writing a chapter book that will capture the imagination and interest of young readers. With characters that are interesting and appealing to young readers, the author sets out to present a story from the point of view of characters that are larger than life, and larger than the characters they meet in this fascinating story. Jumbeelia is the unusual name of the young giantess. She loves to hear stories, and her favorite is the one about the iggly plop who climbs up the bimplestonk to the giant's land of Groil. One day the iggly plop throws a bimple over the edge of Groil and the most amazing event occurs: overnight it grows into a bimplestonk. Well, no one has to tell Jumbeelia what to do. She quickly climbs down into the land of iggly plops. Soon she discovers the Jones family: Colette, Poppy, and Stephen. Jumbeelia puts them into her bad and carries them back to Groil. The children quickly realize they have been kidnapped by the giantess and must be clever and creative to figure out a way to escape and get back home. Young readers will love the strange words and premise of this story. It is a funny adventure story full strange people and places.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Most giants in Groil disregard the fairy tale about the tiny thief who once climbed a plant up to their land, but young Jumbeelia is sure that the pocket-sized "iggly plops" must exist. She drops a mysterious seed over the cloud edge, and, sure enough, a "bimplestonk" grows in the night. She climbs down to the miniature world where she collects some souvenirs, including three children-Collette; her brother, Stephen; and their baby sister, Poppy. The humans attempt to communicate with their huge captor, but, like all giants, Jumbeelia speaks only Groilish, and, in any case, she is too large to hear them. She installs the children in her dollhouse and plays nicely with her new "toys," but her brother is jealous and wants the iggly plops for his own. When he gets hold of them, he plays cruel, dangerous games with them, even forcing Stephen into deadly combat with a colossal wasp. The children resolve to escape, but the giant world is filled with dangerous objects and enormous creatures, including a very hungry cat and a mad old giant with a grudge against humans. The use of Groilish adds the appeal of a secret code to the story. All dialogue among the giants is written strictly in their own language. In-text translation is rare, although almost everything is clear in context. Dictionaries are provided so that young readers can become proficient in the lingo. An exciting story with a subtle message about respect and cooperation.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In search of legendary "iggly plops," Jumbeelia climbs down the "bimplestonk" and finds a lawn mower, a sheep and three children whom she pops into her collector's bag and takes back to Groil, her giant's world in the clouds. As the kidnapped "iggly plops," Collette, Steven and baby Poppy, come to understand their predicament, from Jumbeelia's harmless first welcoming kiss and delicious French fry, and the eventual signs of growing neglect, their old careless relationship changes and becomes caring. Collette's deepening introspection and fear grows, as she recognizes in Jumbeelia and herself the symptom of a casual collector: boredom. The plot quickens when Zab, Jumbeelia's brother, takes control. No longer animated dollhouse toys, in Zab's grip, they are helpless play-action figures to be tortured, forcing the children to drastic action. An invented Giant language that may entice young readers to the back to decipher the English-sounding picturesque language-or may drive them away-makes coincidence and quick resolutions a little less irritating. This reverse Jack in the Beanstalk feels like-and will be-a children's movie. (Fiction. 8-10)