The Smartest Giant in Town

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The Smartest Giant in Town By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel SchefflerThe Smartest Giant in Town’ is written by Julia Donaldson who is best known for writing the Gruffalo stories. In this book we meet George who is a giant and is not generally known for being smart – in fact he is the scruffiest giant in town!

He does get a bit fed up of being thought of as scruffy though, so one day he decides to do something about it. He discovers a new shop full of smart clothes so he buys himself a new shirt, trousers, belt, tie, shoes and socks. He is so pleased he dresses in them immediately, leaves his old clothes at the shop and sets off home.

However, on the way home he meets a number of little creatures each with their own problem. First he meets a giraffe who has a sore neck. George does the only thing he can think of and offers his tie to act as a scarf, saying ‘it didn’t match my socks anyway!’.

For each little person he meets, he solves their problems by giving a piece of his clothing so by the end of the story he is only left with his trousers, which are falling down because he no longer has his belt, revealing a wonderful pair of red and white spotty underpants which are bound to make all children laugh!

After each act of kindness he goes on his way singing to himself a song about all that he has done. This song has a cumulative effect as after each donation he adds one more line to the original words. My daughter loves joining in with this song!

Eventually he realises that he is cold so returns to the shop to buy some more clothes only to discover it is closed. At this point he feels quite sad and desperate sitting in just his vest and underpants, until he suddenly spots a carrier bag which has been left outside with his old clothes in. He gladly puts them on and eventually goes home.

When he gets home he has a lovely surprise as all the animals he has shared his clothes with are there and they have a present for him – a beautiful gold paper crown and a card! George puts it on and reads the message in the card which reminds him of all the acts of kindness he has given and ends with these words:

‘So here is a very fine crown.
to go with the sandals and gown
of the KINDEST giant in town!’

It is a lovely ending and certainly can provoke quite a discussion with young children about how good it is to help others and also about how it doesn’t matter what you look like but how you behave is the most important. It is also good to discuss how appreciative all the creatures were and remind children how good it is to say thank you!

The story is accompanied by wonderful illustrations from Axel Scheffler. All of the pictures are very bright and bold and he captures a number of wonderful expressions on George’s face. The page with the spotty underpants is very funny!

Overall my daughters and I really enjoyed reading ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’. We loved the ‘feel good’ storyline as well as George’s generous character. All in all it is a very good read and I recommend adding it to any children’s book collection!

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Smartest Giant in Town (The)
by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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