cover image How to Make Friends with a Giant

How to Make Friends with a Giant

Gennifer Choldenko, , illus. by Amy Walrod. . Putnam, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23779-9

Choldenko's (Al Capone Does My Shirts ) story suggests that, when it comes to friendship, size doesn't matter. First-grader Jake, who's sensitive about his own short stature, is intrigued by Jacomo, a giant boy who moves in next door. As their classmates routinely find problems with Jacomo's height—he can't fit into the school bus, he kicks the soccer ball too hard—Jake always finds a way to turn their complaints into assets. His exchanges with Jacomo demonstrate a patience and understanding more characteristic of an adult than a boy (" 'Jacomo,' I say. 'You're a great player. You just have to kick softer' "). Walrod's (Horace and Morris But Mostly Dolores ) humorous illustrations make the most of the difference in the boys' sizes ("Look, Ed!... The shrimp and the giant are friends," says one girl as Jake appears like a Lilliputian next to Jacomo, who stoops to fit on the page). By story's end, Jake has earned himself a new friend and, even though he may not have grown in inches, his experience has given him an immeasurable boost in his sense of self ("This was a good day. I have never felt so tall"). Ages 5-up. (July)