cover image Tea with an Old Giant

Tea with an Old Giant

Jane Yolen, illus. by Paolo Domeniconi. Reycraft, $18.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-4788-6856-9

In this classic-feeling fairy tale, an elderly giant with pale skin and a long white beard has grown weary of his reclusive life on a mountaintop overlooking the ocean. “He was tired of pretending by himself,” writes Yolen (the How Do Dinosaurs Say series), “tired of playing checkers by himself, tired of reading out loud to himself, tired of singing both the soprano and the bass parts in all the songs.” When the giant tromps into town for companionship, his arrival scares off everyone except pale-skinned Arabella, a redheaded, pigtailed child who also experiences loneliness (“No one in town had time to play checkers or anything at all with her”). After the two engage in a game and jump-rope, and read Arabella’s books, the giant happily participates in a doll tea party, drinking water tea and eating mud cookies. Italian illustrator Domeniconi matches the text’s composure, working in a formal painterly style that transports readers to a landscape suffused with golden light, at once magical and very human. There’s no big revelation, no moment of conflict—just the quiet joy exuding from two people who have found a boon companion. Ages 5–9. (Nov.)