cover image Giants Are Very Brave People

Giants Are Very Brave People

Florence Parry Heide, illus. by Merrill Rainey. Holiday House, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5041-1

Updated with new illustrations from Rainey (Asteroid Goldberg), this previously published story by late author and poet Heide stars a blue-skinned boy named Bigelow who’s anxious about nearly everything, including clouds, alphabet soup, and rainwater. Then one day Bigelow encounters a “little lady” called Mrs. Pimberly, portrayed with pale skin, who is even more afraid than he is—and he’s the reason why. Compared to Mrs. Pimberly, it turns out, Bigelow is an actual giant. But Bigelow is kind and considerate (he assures her he won’t eat her, and sits down carefully so as not to squash her house), and Mrs. Pimberly offers up advice, suggesting that acting brave might result in feeling brave, and teaching him “Fee Fi Fo Fum” as a mantra. Newly confident, Bigelow returns the favor by setting up his enormous toy train for the untraveled Mrs. Pimberly, helping her to see the world for the first time. The storytelling’s unabashed sincerity balances well-trod themes of empathy and self-esteem, and the new illustrations follow suit, channeling an openhearted feel with big shapes, a playful palette, and poster-like compositions. Ages 4–7. Illustrator’s agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Bookmark Literary. (Aug.)