Why would a kind giant who helps out a village not want to be seen? “Because people are scared of things that are different. And sometimes, they’re not so nice.”
That’s what Billy’s grandad tells him when he doesn’t believe that the “Giant of Gableview” is real. It is a lesson that all of us could use when thinking about how to treat people in this great big world of ours. A lesson that is especially important during the holidays.
* Thank you to the Kid Lit Exchange for the chance to review this book.
I grew up in a large city and there were lots of different people around – different cultures, religions, and races. We also traveled a lot and would often stray from the beaten path (thanks dad). But living in a semi-rural community in the south, I can see how some people have been sheltered, by no fault of their own, from getting to know people who are different from themselves. It can be unsettling to confront or consider things that are different, but as David Litchfield shows us in The Boy and the Giant, things that seem really different on the outside are not always so different after all.
In The Boy and the Giant, Litchfield utilizes a giant to represent the “other.” Little Billy had always figured that the giant was a legend because he had never actually seen him. But when the new mural that the town is painting needs work done at the top. Billy’s grandad knows the giant is the perfect person for the job. Billy objects that the giant isn’t really real, but his grandfather give him examples of all of the good that the giant has done.
When Billy finally sees the giant, he is absolutely terrified. He screams and runs away as fast as he can, but then he remembers what his graded said about people being afraid of things that are different. He realizes his mistake and makes an effort to apologize and fix the problem.
I found this to be an incredibly endearing book. Litchfield also does the illustrations and has drawn a town that really does seem to welcome you in. The giant has an air of magic about him, but he is also entirely human and deep down, he is just like you and me.