The Book of Giant Stories

October 17, 2012

Old book loves are sometimes rediscovered and rekindled...'The Book of Giant Stories' by David L. Harrison and Philippe Fix is such a book. For the most part, I can pretty much remember nearly every book I've ever read in my life. But this one...I simply forgot about its existence.

Not because I didn't love it, because I did. I had it at a really young age, 5 or 6, I think. And I don't know, it just fell through the cracks of my memories. Which is amazing to me, because I ADORED THIS BOOK. I gotta cut myself some slack, I guess. I can't remember everything. (I especially can't remember where my keys are 95% of the time.) I also recently rediscovered 'The Witch Family' by Eleanor Estes, which was lost to me for about 30 years because I couldn't remember the title. Oh how I love that book! OMG I am older than Father Time.

When I chanced upon it online, I almost fell off my chair. OH THERE YOU ARE, I wanted to yell at the screen. I'VE MISSED YOU! I LOVED YOU! How could I have forgotten this book? I loved it so. 

It was a very surreal experience, actually. Once I saw it again, I was stupefied. HOW could I have forgotten my love for this book??? Yes, I already said that. I almost broke a toe running for my wallet so I could order it. This book was not getting away from me again. I can't believe it wasn't saved in with the rest of my collection.

Anyway, finding it again was one of the true and real happy experiences in my book loving life. Hurray for happy moments! Let's talk about why it's SO AWESOME, shall we? Well, a little boy scaring the shoes off a trio of giants because they don't want to catch his measles is both hilarious and entertaining.

Also, the art is particularly adept at conveying a real You-Are-Now-in-the-Enchanted-Forest feeling. All of the stories feature a little boy (who looks the same in each story ~ Julia and I are trying to figure out whether or not it really is the same boy) and a giant (the giant also looks the same, except for the story where there are three giants). 

The little boy, it turns out, is greatly talented at Helping Out Your Local Giant. Which is a totally awesome skill to have. You want to help giants, so that they won't eat you or step on you. It would be a huge bummer for that to happen, as if you didn't already know that and if you didn't know that, you'd best be working on some giant avoidance SKILZ. With a Z. Regular skills aren't gonna help ya.

Look! A little witchy-poo! She's a naughty minx. (She casts a spell that makes everything seem giant to the giant, which royally freaks him out.) And she's quite Halloweeny looking, no? 

The giant in this story doesn't know how to whistle. He gets very frustrated and says things like: 

"FRANGLEWHANGLED WHIPPERSNACK!"

Which obviously we should all be saying when stressed. 

Ok I'm going to stop kidding around and try and make some sense. These stories are SO much fun! The tales involve giants who are afraid of catching measles, giants who need eye glasses, and giants who long to whistle. Not scary, even the witch, although she looks a bit creepy. This book was my gateway into fairy tale land. Someday I need to write a little dissertation about how much fairy tales meant to me. 

I find it to be one of life's true happy little surprises that this lost book came back to me. And it came back when my daughter was at exactly the right age to appreciate it ~ not too young, not too old. (It's perfectly perfect for 5-7 year olds.) I really don't think stuff like that is random, my friends. It's book magic.





16 comments:

  1. Don't be so harsh on yourself! I don't remember half the books I read :p But seriously now, the book does look great! I love the pictures! And like you said, even the witch isn't too scary looking.

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    1. It was so surprising to me that I had forgotten about it b/c it was one of my great favorites!! So happy I found it! :)

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  2. What a cool old book! I love the pictures. Franglewhangle whippersnap! Yeah, unfortunately that just doesn't roll off the tongue - or typing fingers - well enough to add it into everyday usage. Darn.

    You know me - I LOVE rediscovering long lost childhood favorites. It's such a joy. Except it often makes my eyes well up. Because I'm also a sentimental softy. Congrats on rediscovering this one.

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    1. The first time I read 'Little Richard' by Patricia Scarry to Julia, (it was my fav book when I was 5), there were tears in my eyes....

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  3. this post makes me so so so HAPPY! You are absolutely right... things like this are not just chance- it's certainly book magic! I want this book now too. We have a HUGE love for giants (he he he) but we really do. And this book looks as wonderful as you describe! fantastic!

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    1. I'm thinking your boys would LOVE this Robyn!!! You too!!!!

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  4. Melissa, you have book-finding skillz!! I think that re-discovering books and stuff from childhood is so fun and exciting, I love it when that happens. It's book kismet! Book serendipity!

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    1. Book skilz are the best skilz to have, yes? And book serendipity is the best kind of cosmic coincidence :)

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  5. This looks so cool! Definitely a must-find. :D

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    1. It's a fun one Michelle, really for true!

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  6. It is so funny that you posted this..thank you! A few weeks ago I was browsing through this store that sells odd donated stuff that could be be use for art projects. I came across the cover-just the cover- of this book in a bin of old photos, half-used sticker sheets and other random stuff. It looked so familiar, so I bought it. (No way I could have just jotted down the title or snapped a photo, as I don't actually collage or anything.). Anyway, it has been in my car ever since because that's where I store things I don't know what else to do with. Now, thanks to your pictures, I know that, yes, I did once enjoy this book, and just placed my order for a complete copy! Wow! That was really long. Sorry!

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    1. are you kidding? I LOVE THAT STORY!!! totally, totally awesome. So happy that this book is coming for you too! :)

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  7. I've had that same experience where all of a sudden something jogs my memory, and I think, "Oh my goodness! How long would that have been lost if I hadn't seen (or heard) (or smelled) that thing right then?"

    And book magic? LOVE it!

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  8. How wonderful! I can totally relate to that feeling of elation when you are reunited with a favorite childhood book. Mine was Twice Upon a Time written by Irwin Shapiro, illustrated by the great Adrienne Adams. So cool!

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    1. Ooooh I'll have to look for that one Michaele!!!

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