Giant of Seville: A

Giant of Seville: A "Tall" Tale Based on a True Story

by Dan Andreasen
     
 

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Based on the life of a real circus giant, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates!

Nothing exciting ever happens in the sleepy town of Seville, Ohio-until Captain Martin Van Buren Bates arrives. Standing seven feet and eleven and a half inches, Captain Bates is a giant who has toured around the world in the circus. In search of a quiet home for himself and his

Overview

Based on the life of a real circus giant, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates!

Nothing exciting ever happens in the sleepy town of Seville, Ohio-until Captain Martin Van Buren Bates arrives. Standing seven feet and eleven and a half inches, Captain Bates is a giant who has toured around the world in the circus. In search of a quiet home for himself and his wife, (who is also a giant!) Captain Bates decides to get off the train in Seville, although he fears he will be too big for the little town. But Seville is full of surprises, and the giant is about to learn that the only thing that matters is the size of one's heart.

A "tall" tale based on the true story of a real-life circus giant, The Giant of Seville is a heartwarming story of friendship and acceptance that will resonate with children. The book includes an author's note and an archival photograph of Captain Martin Van Buren Bates and his wife, Anna Bates, Seville's most famous residents.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Andreasen (With a Little Help from Daddy) takes a true larger-than-life character and imagines the possibilities of attempting to fit into normal society. Captain Martin Van Buren Bates, a giant of a fellow who one day arrives in the sleepy town of Seville, Ohio, sports "a stovepipe hat the size of a pickle barrel!" Since he and his equally oversize wife have retired from the circus, Bates is searching for the perfect place for them to settle down. He rents a room in Mrs. Crawley's boardinghouse, and the people of Seville, deeming his arrival "the most exciting thing ever to happen" in their town, want to make the fellow feel at home. But though kind Mrs. Crawley gives him a room with a king-size bed, Bates must open the window and stick his feet outside in order to fully stretch out. After the overlarge fellow accidentally does some damage and feels perhaps he's too big for the town, the residents pitch in to build a giant-size house so the newcomer and his wife will stay. A concluding note describes the real Bates, born in 1845, who reached a height of almost eight feet and a weight of 525 pounds. Andreasen's pastel-hued, crosshatch illustrations take on an old-time feel and ably capture the good natures of both giant and townsfolk. A standout image shows the captain carrying Mrs. Bates across the threshold into their new home�the doorframe filling the entire full-page illustration. A folksy, big-hearted tale. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
This tall tale recounts the mostly true story about Captain Bates, a Civil War veteran who was 7'11 �" tall and weighed over 500 pounds. After the war, he joined the circus, traveling as the world's tallest man. He toured for many years, eventually landing in Seville, Ohio, hoping to find a place where he and his wife could settle. He arrives with his head and feet sticking out the windows of the train and has to sleep with his feet dangling out the window of the boarding house, beneath which the mistress of that establishment keeps a campfire burning to warm his feet. The townsfolk want him to feel welcome, but it is taxing keeping him fed (four gallons of pancake batter for breakfast) and entertained (floors collapse when he joins in a square dance). The next morning he joins them in a giant house-raising, a home for him and his wife. Andreasen's sparse text has a down-home, understated feel to it, with phrases like "you could hear the corn grow" sprinkled throughout. The earth-toned illustrations capture the size and humor of the story, with the use of perspective helping to give a sense of size and proportion. This captivating slice of local history will be enjoyed throughout the land.
Kirkus Reviews
Based on a real circus giant who lived in the 1800s, Andreasen's story stands tall in every way-from page size to the outsized images of the towering man. Life is so quiet in Seville, Ohio, that you can hear the corn grow. Then a stranger comes to town. The giant of a man is so big that his head and shoulders stick out the window of the train. At seven feet, 11-and-a-half inches, Captain Bates is looking for a quiet home for himself and his wife (who is eight feet tall). The townsfolk want to make the giant feel at home, but the boardinghouse bed is too short, it takes four gallons of pancake batter to fill him up, and when he dances a jig at the square dance, he crashes through the floor. Captain Bates seems too big for Seville after all, but the townspeople come up with a tall solution. Cunning homespun illustrations effectively convey size contrasts of people and situations; scratchboard-like lines add dimension as bordered full-page art and opposite text heighten the spare narrative. A clever blend of tall-tale telling, historical anecdote and giant-sized appeal that truly measures up. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810909885
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2007
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,333,511
Product dimensions:
8.37(w) x 12.37(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
1 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Dan Andreasen is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including Sailor Boy Jig, by Margaret Wise Brown; Chico, by Sandra Day O'Connor; and Streets of Gold, by Rosemary Wells. He lives in Medina, Ohio, about twenty minutes from Seville, with his wife and three children.

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