Today I have a sumptuous feast for the eye with David Litchfield’s richly coloured Grandad’s Secret Giant, which we received from Murdoch Books via Allen & Unwin for review. Here’s the blurb from Murdoch Books:
A GIANT story of belonging and friendship from David Litchfield, author of the prize winning The Bear and the Piano.He has hands the size of tables, Grandad said, legs as long as drainpipes and feet as big as rowing boats. Do you know who I mean?
Yes, sighed Billy. The Secret Giant. But he’s not real!
Billy doesn’t believe his Grandad when he tells him there’s a giant living in his town, doing good deeds for everyone. He knows that a giant is too big to keep himself hidden. And why would he WANT to keep himself a secret? But as time goes on, Billy learns that some secrets are too BIG to stay secret for long…
Being a thrifty sort of gargoyle, I wouldn’t normally suggest that you run out and buy the hardback version of a book the moment it’s released, but I will make an exception in this case. The reason you will want to get the hardback edition of Grandad’s Secret Giant is that that way, you will not miss out on the absolutely joyous experience of peeling back the marvelous dust jacket to uncover the luxurious, colourful, mesmerising image spread across the entire cover of this book.
The next thing you’ll want to do is get a load of the incredibly beautiful endpapers – the beginning one shrouded in blue and white shadows and a giant hiding, the final one infused with the warmth of early morning and the excitement and cosiness of making a new friend.
If you haven’t been convinced by the preceding two paragraphs of high praise, do remember that we haven’t even got to the story yet.
Billy has grown tired of his Grandad’s tales of a giant who lives in their town and helps people out, even though they can’t see him – or scream and run away if they do. He has made up his mind that he will not believe unless he sees the proof with his own eyes. But will seeing the Giant bring out the best in Billy?
This is a delightful story of making mistakes and making things better, all wrapped up in a cosy grandparent-grandchild relationship. The solution to Billy’s problem is heartwarming and creative and the story has an upbeat vibe about it that will give you a spring in your step for the rest of the day.
But those illustrations.
Oh, those illustrations!
I’m not sure whether its the medium or the particular colour palette, but the illustrations here are so vibrant and inviting that I couldn’t help poring over them for ages and wishing, just a little bit, that I could be sucked in to Billy’s world. I was already familiar with Litchfield’s illustrative style from The Building Boy, but the page spreads in Grandad’s Secret Giant lend themselves even more perfectly to the story than in that previous book.
Little ones will love trying to spot the giant, who seems to blend in with his surroundings despite his inherent ability to stand out. There is so much to see in the pictures the longer you look that this book will no doubt be brought out time and again before bedtime.
I realise I’m being a bit indulgent here, with three in the space of a fortnight, but because of the incredibly beguiling illustrations and the warmth of the story, I can’t help but name this a Top Book of 2017 pick!
Until next time,