The stone giant by Anna Hoglund

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Gecko Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781776572731.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Swedish author, Anna Hoglund has created a fable like story of a young girl who saves her father using cunning and ingenuity. Translated for an English audience by Julia Marshall, the story is wonderfully supported by copper plate etchings with splashes of watercolour. The simplistic but never simple drawings are evocative of the bleak landscape and the sparse life of the girl and her father. He is a knight and must go out and deal with a giant turning people to stone. She waits at home alone, and as time passes she despairs that he will not return and so decides to try and find him. She looks at her mirror and asks herself what would happen if the giant saw himself in the mirror. She sets out with her mirror and a knife and swims through the cold, dark water not knowing where she is going. She stays overnight with a woman who gives her an umbrella and she moves on to find a land with many many stones. When the ground begins to shake and the giant approaches, she unfurls the umbrella, and the giant looks down through the hole he makes in it and sees himself in the mirror.
Her courage kills the giant and saves those turned to stone. She and her father now live in a peaceful land and neither will be alone again.
This is a lovely hand sized book which children will often return to, reading of the girl using her courage and ingenuity to rescue her father.
And the delightful illustrations will attract their attention as they read the text. Gecko Press publishes 'curiously good books' and the website tells us that one good book can spark a lifetime of reading. The books they publish are certainly books that spark interest and are very different to those offered by other publishers. Read more here.
Themes: Courage, Giants, Mirror.
Fran Knight