'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Review: The Giant and the Sea

Oh, wow! A HUGE Wow. A powerful and breathtaking wow.

From the cover, you know The Giant and the Sea is going to grab at your heartstrings.

You can see the emotion radiating from the giant as she leans down to speak to the girl — a worried look on both their faces.

But I'm not sure I was prepared for just how powerful this picture book is...

There was once a giant who stood on the shore. She watched the water, because that is what she had promised to do.

But one day, the giant speaks to the girl who often visits the shore. She tells her the sea is rising and action must be taken. The girl tries to tell her people. Some believe her, but some are so in love with their machines, they will not heed the giant’s warnings.

Sound familiar?

This is an amazing, deep and powerful book. I was glad and also shocked that my six year old understood what this book was trying to say with little prompts. She understood what the machines represented and she predicted what would happen based on the actions of the community in the story.

What I love about this book is that it teaches us something important, but it does so in an engaging way — both through text and illustrations. The story is poetic and lyrical. It puts the little girl centre stage to be relatable for kids and it gives her power and influence to encourage children to stand up for what they believe in. It’s also written in a way that forces the reader to pause at all the right spots to encourage reflection of what is happening.

But… you’ll find humour, too. Sprinkled through the book is a spark of hope that I believe the story is trying to ignite.

The illustrations are moody and full of emotion. Blacks and greys correctly represent the sadness and danger woven through the story, but golds and yellows also swim through the pages, representing hope and the power to make a difference. The girl wears a gold shirt — the brightest gold throughout the book. Fitting, right?

This is an important book for right now. It helps children (and adults) to see the truth of the world around us. 

Trent Jamieson is a true talent in storytelling. Known for his short stories and novels, The Giant and the Sea is his first picture book. And boy do I hope he loved the experience of writing it because I desperately want him to deliver more.

Rovina Cai works across a range of genres and has created works for book covers, posters, novels and picture books. This book will have you jumping on her website within seconds to explore her art further, I guarantee.

Lovers of picture books that make you think and reflect will adore The Giant and the Sea. It sits on the shelf with books like Our Little Inventor, Pea Pod Lullaby and Girl on Wire.

Title: The Giant and the Sea
Author: Trent Jamieson
Illustrator: Rovina Cai
Publisher: Hachette, $24.99
Publication Date: 26 May 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734418876
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book, Illustrated Fiction