cover image In Search of the Giant

In Search of the Giant

Jeanne Willis. Dutton Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45242-3

Offering an exercise of the imagination rather than a full-fledged story, this picture book combines a vague narrative with delicate, deliberately ambiguous illustrations. The narrator describes a trek through the forest with his older sister, who has decided ``it was time for us to find a giant of our very own.'' Wandering through the woods, they find evidence of a sleeping giant: a rope-like jumble of exposed roots are huge strands of his hair; ``the banks steaming with moisture'' are ``giant's mossy breath''; the cracking of a tree branch may be a sign that the giant has woken and is ``stretching out his arms.'' Metaphor replaces simile, causing some confusion, and the narrative intent is never clear. Brown's dreamlike watercolors, laden with a damp, suspenseful air, also blur the real and the imagined. This book may be too subtle for many; nevertheless, it often exemplifies a way of seeing that naturally delights children. Ages 4-8. (May)