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Giant Steps

Giant Steps

4.0 1
by illustrated by Barry Root Elizabeth Loredo, Barry Root (Illustrator)

What do loud-sighin', eye-rollin', yawny-bored giants do for fun? Play giant steps, of course. And when you're a giant, the whole world is your playground! The fifth giant is it and his four friends run far and fast in all directions, taking them to the four corners of the globe and back—over jaggy tip mountains and yawn mouth canyons, through red stripe


What do loud-sighin', eye-rollin', yawny-bored giants do for fun? Play giant steps, of course. And when you're a giant, the whole world is your playground! The fifth giant is it and his four friends run far and fast in all directions, taking them to the four corners of the globe and back—over jaggy tip mountains and yawn mouth canyons, through red stripe deserts, dark tangle jungles and herds of trumpetin', thumpetin' wild animals.

Join the giants in their hilarious version of a familiar childhood game, where the outcome all depends on that fifth giant, all alone on the mountaintop counting ONE . . . TWO . . . THREE . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the children's game of the same name, Loredo's (Boogie Bones) folksy yet flimsy tale opens on a comically languid note: "Five loud-sighin' giants sittin' on a mountaintop./ Five eye-rollin' giants sittin' on a mountaintop./ Five yawny-bored giants sittin' on a mountaintop,/ all of them wonderin' what they should do." They "one potata, two potata, three potata, four..." to decide who is "it," a role that falls, as usual, to the fifth giant (who "never is lucky like the rest"). As that fellow slowly starts countin', the others take off runnin', one to the north, one to the south, and so on, all encountering diverse terrain and creatures (e.g., the westward bound giant-the only female-"run[s] out over red-stripe desert and yawn-mouth canyons/ and thirsty coyote howlin' at scaredy jackrabbits"). When the fifth giant yells "freeze!" everyone complies ("They especially froze in the north," according to the story's wittiest line). After taking three giant steps, the fifth giant misses when he tries to hit one of his pals with a "great big golden ball"-the sun-and is again declared "it." The others are lucky, concludes the narrative, "on account of he's the only giant can count." Root's (Gumbrella) predominately earth-toned mixed-media art provides innovative perspectives of the giants' globe-trotting high jinks, and one or two of the outsize characters seem to have combined their snaggle-toothed giddiness with a quick sortie through a Wagner Ring Cycle wardrobe room. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Five giants are bored. Five giants decide to play a counting game. Five giants start running. They run over deserts. They run over canyons and mountains. Five giants run past sheep and camel. Then the counting giant yells freeze. The giants freeze. The counting giant throws a ball at the giant who didn't run as far as the rest. It is the sun! The giants play the running counting game again. But the only giant who can be the counting giant is the fifth giant. He is the only one who can count! This original counting book brings to life a typical freeze game in a new and original story. The illustrations of wide eyed giant and animal expressions give the story a humorous tone that is priceless and lends for the story to be read again and again. Parents and children will find themselves cheering on the giants as they play their counting game. 2004, G P Putnam's Sons, Ages 3 to 6.
—Mindy Hardwick
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-In this entertaining read-aloud, five "loud-sighin'," "eye-rollin'," "yawny-bored giants" are sitting on a mountaintop wondering what to do. The cure for their doldrums is a game of "giant steps," in which the eternally unlucky fifth behemoth stays behind to count while the other four go pounding north, south, east, and west across the surface of the earth. When he bellows "FREEZE!" his voice reverberates across the globe, and he grabs a big, yellow ball (the sun) to lob at the closest competitor. He misses, and his four friends come running back to tease him and begin the game anew. It's just as well that the fifth giant is so ill fated because, as readers learn on the final page, he's the only one who knows how to count. Chock-full of alliterative phrases and colorful verbs that are great fun to read aloud, Loredo's folksy text has the feel of a traditional tale. Root's watercolor-and-gouache paintings complement the story's humor and liveliness. The artist dresses the characters in a hodgepodge of animal skins, plated armor, sports jerseys, and knee socks, making them look like a cross between ancient archetypes and dime-store thugs. Their goofy, wide-eyed, gap-toothed countenances will amuse youngsters, as will the comical expressions of zebras, seals, and other critters caught in the tromping giants' paths. It is easy to imagine children begging for repeated readings of this clever tale and then rushing outside to play at being giants themselves.-Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A quintet of infectiously grinning behemoths, a well-delivered punch line, and an unexplained joke left for young readers or listeners to figure out on their own buoy this globe-spanning game of "Giant Steps." After a round of "One potata, two potata," which for some reason the fifth giant always loses, his oversized, peg-toothed compatriots, dressed in a variety of ragged skins and fleeces, scatter to the cardinal directions. Loredo sends her giants bounding off in a tumble of inventive usage and dropped letters-"He run out over jaggy-tip mountains and bottomless pools and shaggy sheep roamin' through spittin' camel herds..."-until the fifth giant finishes counting and bellows out a stentorian "FREEZE!" that brings the whole world to a stop. But, as ever, he's still IT at game's end-which all agree is a good thing, as (wait for it) he's the only one of the five who can count. A cheerful, Bunyanesque episode that, like Loredo's Boogie Bones (1997), begs to be read aloud. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Giant Steps 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most of us remember a favorite childhood game, Giant Steps. As we used to play it one person was It' while the others took steps, often asking 'May I?' Surely, there are countless variations, perhaps relating to region or culture. Nonetheless, forget everything you ever knew about the game and prepare yourself for an introduction to a rollicking new version as played by giants, real giants. There are five of these big fellows and they are very bored. There they sit atop a mountain wondering what to do. To pass the time they decide to play Giants Steps - their way. After doing 'one potata, two potata, three potata, four' to determine who will be 'It.' The fifth giant, who is usually unlucky winds up being 'It.' He sits there counting while the other four take off to the far corners of the globe. How and if he finds them makes a fun story for young readers.