Giants!: Stories from around the World

Giants!: Stories from around the World

by Paul Robert Walker, James Bernardin

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Victoria Crenson
Folk literature is full of stories about enormous giants who walked the earth "long ago, in the time before time." Many of these folktales also tell how a smaller, but wily race called human beings eventually defeated their larger, more powerful rivals. Walker has gathered seven giant stories from around the world, some familiar, such as "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The Cyclops," and others new to us and delightfully strange such as "Kana, The Stretching Wonder" from Hawaii and "Coyote and the Giant Sisters" from the Pacific Northwest. Why did people from such varying cultures all believe in giants? Walker suggests that giants' footsteps are a good explanation for earthquakes. Thunder sounds very much like giants laughing and brooding mountains look like...well, sleeping giants!
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-Seven stories from around the world. "David and Goliath," "Jack and the Beanstalk," and "The Cyclops" from Homer's Odyssey are here, but with significant changes from the familiar versions. For example, in "David and Goliath," the narrative is more developed than the biblical narrative, with more motivation. Even Jack's story, based on its first published version, makes more sensethe giant stole the riches from Jack's father in the first place. Of greater significance is the remainder of the tales, from South Africa, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, and Norway. These giants are unknown to many readers and therefore their behavior is less predictable, their functions more varied. Usually, it is the human reaction to the giant in any Western fairy tale that is the real focus. Not necessarily so here, where there may be no people at all, or where the giant may simply be a mutant human. At the end of each selection Walker notes its genesis and reasons for any changes he made. The range of behaviors, the lively narration, as well as the unobtrusive scholarly references make this a satisfying collection. The painterly illustrations, one full-color vignette per story, with a few line drawings interspersed, are as realistic as they can be, given their subjects. The creatures' gaping, gross features are bold and terrifying, and the perspectives are dizzying.Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
Kay Weisman
nger for reading aloud. In this companion to "Big Men, Big Country: A Collection of American Tall Tales" (1993), Walker presents seven classic giant stories. His choices, both familiar ("Jack and the Beanstalk," "The Cyclops," and "David and Goliath" ) and lesser-known ("Kana the Stretching Wonder," "Coyote and the Giant Sisters," "The Cannibal's Wonderful Bird," and "The Giant Who Had No Heart" ) hail from Europe, Africa, North America, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Walker has researched the better-known variants of each tale; his own retellings represent composites of several versions. Each story is appended with source notes that will be of interest to children as well as adults, and a bibliography of original editions. James Bernardin's gouache paintings and pencil drawings make for elegant bookmaking, although the stories will be just as successful presented orally. A solid choice for family reading or as a resource for storytellers.

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Product Details

Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.88(w) x 11.26(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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