The Little Giant

Overview

Angelino is a little giant.

Tired of being teased and ignored for being too small, he runs away from home. On his journey he meets Osvaldo, who is exactly the same size. But Osvaldo is not a little giant, he is a big dwarf. And Osvaldo has also left his village, because he was teased and ignored too.

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Overview

Angelino is a little giant.

Tired of being teased and ignored for being too small, he runs away from home. On his journey he meets Osvaldo, who is exactly the same size. But Osvaldo is not a little giant, he is a big dwarf. And Osvaldo has also left his village, because he was teased and ignored too.

When war breaks out between the giants and the dwarfs, it's up to Angelino and Osvaldo to show the villages that they are not so different after all.


About the Author:

Sergio Ruzzier creates pictures and stories for books, magazines, and newspapers. He is also the illustrator of Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, the collected works of Karla Kuskin. Born in Italy, he now lives in New York with his wife and their daughter, Viola.

In this sweet fable about peace and friendship, a little giant and a big dwarf forge a friendship. When war breaks out between the giants and dwarves, it's up to the two friends to prove that giants and dwarves are not so different.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this tale of peace, a miniature giant and his lookalike, a "big dwarf," thwart a war between their rival clans. Angelino de'Grandi, whose Italian surname implies large dimensions, is tiny compared to his wall-eyed, shirtless fellow giants. His diaper-like white loincloth and the blond curl atop his otherwise bald head lend him an infantile appearance; his towering people want nothing to do with him. Angelino sadly leaves his mountain home and wanders into the rocky territory of his near-twin, Osvaldo Curti, whose own surname suggests brevity. Osvaldo is alone, too: "[T]he other dwarfs don't like me. They think I am too tall," he explains. The exiles become instant soul mates. Later, when violence breaks out among their villages, Angelino is mistaken for Osvaldo and vice versa. The battle dissolves: "How could the giants and the dwarfs keep fighting, when no one could tell one from the other?" Ruzzier, who illustrated Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, depicts Angelino and Osvaldo as folkloric figures in an all-male realm, who live in a desert painted in muted greens, soft blues and sandstone yellows and reds. Ruzzier logically suggests that understanding develops when people look beyond superficial physical traits, although the heroes' friendship is based on both external similarities and outcast status. Readers may well ask why the combatants, who have mistreated Angelino and Osvaldo, would revise their opinions in wartime. Ruzzier's mythic style suggests a profound meaning that his good-intentioned story doesn't quite deliver. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a story of the little giant, Angelino, and the big dwarf, Osvaldo, who looked so much alike that they stopped a war between their peoples. Both of them are ignored and left out because they are so different in size from their people, but they found each other and lived happily together until war broke out. The reader doesn't know why the giants and dwarves are fighting or why they stop, but apparently they were confounded by the fact that their forgotten kinsmen were just alike. Perhaps the giants and dwarves realized they were fighting themselves: a suspicion of allegory expressed in straightforward, simplistic prose and otherworldly illustrations. Characteristic of Ruzzier's work, the colored moonscape of cones and canyons are invitingly painted in soft watercolors of yellow sand, dull red and gray-green. Giants and dwarfs are indistinguishable except in size, dressed only in what children may take to be diapers, and there appear to be only males. The details of stones and arrows in the flesh of the combatants are disturbing, but mercifully gone when you turn the page. The story also begs the question of are we all "just alike" in spite of our differences, or is the moral tale that our differences are unimportant? While the illustrations are compelling, the giants' and the dwarfs' story needs more clothing. 2004, Laura Geringer Books/HarperCollins, Ages 3 to 7.
—Diane Carver Sekeres
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Angelino, ostracized by his community of giants because he is too small, and Osvaldo, shunned by the other dwarfs because he is too big, both leave home. They meet, realize that they look exactly alike, and live together as friends. However, when they receive news that the giants and the dwarfs are engaged in battle, they return to their respective homes to help. When the combatants see that Angelino and Osvaldo are identical even though "one was a giant and one was a dwarf," they cease fighting because they realize "no one could tell one from the other." The mostly full-page watercolor cartoons depict round-headed, big-eared characters dressed in loincloths. They live in a land of cone-shaped, multicolored mountains in a fairly barren landscape. The battle ends abruptly, and the reason given does not make sense. Because Angelino and Osvaldo, who deviate from the characteristics of their respective clans, look alike, does it follow that those who are normally as tall as giants or as small as dwarfs could be mistaken for one another? And why, with this new reconciliation, do the two friends still feel the need to live apart instead of remaining with their communities? Douglas Wood's Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (Scholastic, 2003) is a better treatment of a similar theme.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ruzzier offers a bit of wishful thinking in this peace-mongering tale of an undersized giant and an oversized dwarf joining forces to defuse a war between their peoples. Ignored by his towering neighbors, lonely Angelino di Grandi leaves home. After a protracted but uneventful journey, he meets Osvaldo Curti, an ostracized dwarf who is an exact twin. When the two rush into the conflict, they're mistaken for each other-a circumstance that prompts both sides to cease hostilities, since they can't tell each other apart with certainty. Would that it were so simple. Dressed, like all the figures here, in loincloths but sporting single curls of hair on large, oblate heads, Angelino and Osvaldo make such a strange-looking twosome that young readers may be distracted from the story's earnestly delivered point. Years later, the two forget who is the dwarf, and who the giant-and that casually tossed-in idea is more likely to stimulate thought and discussion than the main plot. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060529529
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/17/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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