The Giant and the Sea
Lothian Children’s, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
There was once a giant who stood on the shore of the sea. She looked out across the water the water, because that is what she had promised to do long, long ago.
On the shore there was a young girl who would often come and sing and while the giant never moved or spoke, she listened. Then one day, she warned the girl that the people in the city had a machine that was causing the sea to rise. If the machine were not turned off, the people would all drown. The girl tried to warn the people but they would not listen. They loved their machine and could not imagine that it would ever do them harm, until….
In the style of Armin Greder and Shaun Tan, this is a picture book that has a powerful message that in these days of climate change conversations, even our younger readers will grasp. Even though the little girl remains nameless, each of them could see themselves as being her as they try to make the adults in their world listen to their fears. While the palette of the illustrations is dark and moody reflecting the tone of the story, there is also a thread of hope when the giant returns and rescues those that heard the girl – not all the ears were deaf.
The ending is poignant and bittersweet but it reinforces the power of children’s voices at a time when the adults seem to have lost their way.
The best picture books are those that span all age groups with a meaning and message that speaks to each, and this is one of those.
Teachers’ resources with salient discussion points particularly for older students are available to help you make the most of it with your students because it is one that will linger in the mind long after it has been shared.