Monday, September 20, 2010

The Giant Story

The Giant Story
Beatrice Schenk de Regniers ~ Maurice Sendak
Harper & Row, 1953


Delighting in some early Sendak this rainy Monday morning. Sending my son off to kinder just now, I'm reminded how particularly awesome it felt being at school on a rainy day. Something about how it altered the routine. Recess was inside. If your shoes were wet, you got to spent the day in your socks. So exotic. In The Giant Story, we meet a little boy so entranced by the different that he decides he's no longer a little boy, but a great, big giant.

One morning Tommy woke up early. The sun was looking in through the window. Tommy said, "Hello, Sun."

Then his mother opened the door and looked in. She said, "Good morning, Tommy."

Tommy said, "I'm not Tommy. I'm a -- GIANT."


As such, Tommy finds he can do all sorts of things he's never done before.

"I'm a Giant and I'm bigger than this house.
I walk with my head way up high. Higher than the chimneys
higher than the treetops
higher than the SKY."


With shoes as big as elephants and shoulders so broad an airplane in distress could rest on them, the Giant roams the land looking for ships in the ocean to pick up and houses to sit on and (sometimes) crush. It isn't until the Giant gets tired and returns home that he turns into sweet Tommy again, snuggling in his mother's arms and carried off to bed.

Ah, to be a child again in a world where anything you imagine yourself to be, you can be. If it were that easy in real life.

Written by the Caldecott Medal winner for May I Bring a Friend?, I love the free-flowing narrative. And the charm of Sendak's early work is abundant here, but still only a hint of what will be. Nice.

Also by:
A Very Special House
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present
Moon Jumpers
What Do You Say, Dear?
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale
Some Swell Pup
Let's Be Enemies
Chicken Soup with Rice
Lullabies and Night Songs
Outside Over There
I'll Be You and You Be Me
The Juniper Tree
Where the Wild Things Are
Seven Little Monsters
Open House For Butterflies
Dear Mili
In the Night Kitchen
Cats Cats Cats Cats Cats
How Joe the Bear and Sam the Mouse Got Together
The Snow Party

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