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The Picture Book Buzz

Here Be Giants - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I am so excited to share this book with you all. It was released in the UK on April 4th. Although it's not in the states (yet) it is available as an eBook. And you can get their equally funny first book with this bumbling, clueless knight and his trusty horse, Here Be Dragons, from your favorite bookseller while you wait. This is a wonderfully humorous book - a romping cross between Jacques Clouseau and Monty Python.

Book cover - a knight reading a book on finding giants stands in the forehead of a giant, while his horse tries to warn him.

Here Be Giants

Author: Susannah Lloyd

Illustrator: Paddy Donnelly

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto

Ages: 3-6

Fiction


Themes:

Humor, knights, giant, and adventure.


Synopsis:

Prithee, let us not tarry, for the hapless knight is BACK and he is setting forth on a new MOST PERILOUS quest! A quest to find a GIANT!


All the other knights in the kingdom say he could never track down a giant, but the knight has just come across a most fortuitous find! A book, 'How to Spot a Giant Before He Spots You.'


And so, with his long-suffering horse, the knight sets off to find a giant. His journey takes him through huge craters, past a towering beanstalk and up a strange-looking mountain. But is that thunder he can hear or is he getting closer to giant-sized peril?


Will our hapless hero spot the giant before it’s too late?


Young readers will love the 'he’s behind you!' feel of this laugh-out-loud follow-up to Here Be Dragons from Susannah Lloyd and Paddy Donnelly.


Opening Lines:

Prithee, let us not tarry, for I am setting forth

on a new MOST PERILOUS quest! But

worry thee not! A knight is always prepared,

AND I have a book to help me. For tis

rumoured in yonder lands that here be…


What I LOVED about this book:

I love the opening spread! It is one you could stare at for hours and still not catch all the humorous and nuanced touches that the supremely talented Paddy Donnelly added to the image. Such as the "Giant Sale! One for the price of TWO" or the umbrella stuck in a bucket of swords. Paddy's also added a number of nods to the first book, such as the "Giant Season" sign is tacked over one for dragons, the missing knight poster, and a dragon flying on the horizon. See if you can find the hints he left for a possible third book. Which I really hope they get to make.

Internal spread - in a Shoppe full of books, swords, medicines, etc. two knights look through books on how to find giants.

Text © Susannah Lloyd, 2024. Image © Paddy Donnelly, 2024.


I also love the voice and cluelessness with which Susannah Lloyd imbues the knight. And how the 'Damsel in Distress,' who actually faces down the dragon in the first book, resembles the female knight also preparing to find a giant. Just as the Knight had hunted dragons with his nose in his map, he sets out on his quest to find a giant with his nose in his book. Totally oblivious to the signs of giant activity all around him.

Internal spread - Knight reading a book on finding giants, while striding through a giant's footprint, as pointed out by his horse.

Text © Susannah Lloyd, 2024. Image © Paddy Donnelly, 2024.

… GIANTS!


The other knights said,

“Ha ha! Thou art but a FOOL!

Why, thou couldn’t find a giant if it

was right in front of thy nose!”


Well, I’ll show THEM!


Throughout, the illustrations create a humorous juxtaposition with the text. Allowing children to spot the obvious clues and appearance of the giant, as their adult continues reading the Knight's clueless commentary. Kids will enjoy being in on the "secret," or in the know. Paddy's also included a few humorous treats for the adult throughout - such as funny signs in the shoppe or the casually discarded holy grail (as it was not a 'tall' item).


As the Knight continues to bumble along on his quest, his trusty stead and the lady knight try to warn (and save) him about the giant. but despite their warnings, the knight obliviously strides right through a giant's footprints. And as he reads the book's instruction to be "on the lookout for "very LARGE things all the time," he casually rests his hand on the giant's toe.


Using the book's format to great effect, Paddy creates two amazing vertical spreads. The first showing the knight climbing the giant's leg and attempting to drag a reluctant (to say the least) horse up the 'hill' and the female knight scaling a large beanstalk. This image is in Monday's interview with Paddy & Susannah. The second is too close to the end, so I'll leave you to discover it. But it is amazing!


Having taken a break after their climb, the knight and his horse end up inside a sandwich, with only the horse's actions saving the knight whose convinced the skies are darkening because of a storm. When . . .

I'm going to leave you to figure out if they escape being on the giant's lunch menu.

Internal spread - kinght and horse inside a giant sandwich about to be eaten.

Text © Susannah Lloyd, 2024. Image © Paddy Donnelly, 2024.


As the second book, in hopefully a continuing series, the character's personalities, cluelessness, and adventures are so much fun. It's packed with colorful, detailed illustrations which expand, explore, and enhance the humor of the hapless knight and his quest to find a giant. This is a wonderfully humorous medieval adventure picture book which encourages reader interactivity.


Resources:

  • draw a picture of a giant hiding near your house or school, blending into the area. Who would be able to see the giant? Why?

  • write or draw a story of your giant and a knight. Would your knight ever see the giant?

  • take a walk in your neighborhood, in a park, or on a trail. When you take the time to look around what interesting or unusual things do you see?


If you missed the fun interview with Paddy Donnelly and Susannah Lloyd, find it (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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