cover image The Giant of Seville: A "Tall" Tale Based on a True Story

The Giant of Seville: A "Tall" Tale Based on a True Story

Dan Andreasen, . . Abrams, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-0988-5

Andreasen (With a Little Help from Daddy ) takes a true larger-than-life character and imagines the possibilities of attempting to fit into normal society. Captain Martin Van Buren Bates, a giant of a fellow who one day arrives in the sleepy town of Seville, Ohio, sports "a stovepipe hat the size of a pickle barrel!" Since he and his equally oversize wife have retired from the circus, Bates is searching for the perfect place for them to settle down. He rents a room in Mrs. Crawley's boardinghouse, and the people of Seville, deeming his arrival "the most exciting thing ever to happen" in their town, want to make the fellow feel at home. But though kind Mrs. Crawley gives him a room with a king-size bed, Bates must open the window and stick his feet outside in order to fully stretch out. After the overlarge fellow accidentally does some damage and feels perhaps he's too big for the town, the residents pitch in to build a giant-size house so the newcomer and his wife will stay. A concluding note describes the real Bates, born in 1845, who reached a height of almost eight feet and a weight of 525 pounds. Andreasen's pastel-hued, crosshatch illustrations take on an old-time feel and ably capture the good natures of both giant and townsfolk. A standout image shows the captain carrying Mrs. Bates across the threshold into their new home—the doorframe filling the entire full-page illustration. A folksy, big-hearted tale. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)