________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 21 . . . . June 22, 2001

cover Alice and the Birthday Giant. (A First Flight Level Two Reader).

John Green. Illustrated by Maryann Kovalski.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000.
38 pp., pbk. & cl., $5.95 (pbk.), $12.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55041-540-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55041-538-7 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Birthdays-Juvenile fiction.
Giants-Juvenile fiction.
Libraries-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1 - 3 / Ages 6 - 8.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

*** /4


Suddenly, there was the sound of thumping, bumping footsteps coming up the basement stairs!

Everyone stopped to listen.

Alice knew exactly what was happening."Jumping jelly beans!" she cried.

The basement door crashed open. There stood the giant. His belly hung over his belt. His big round eye stared at everyone. His bulging nose sniffed the air.

"If it isn't too much trouble," he asked politely, "may I have some hot dogs and ice cream?"

image "Be careful what you wish for" might be Alice's advice after her birthday wish for "something big..." to happen produces a one-eyed giant. Wimpy rather than frightening, the giant turns out to be a large inconvenience. Undaunted, Alice parks him out of sight in the basement until she can figure out what to do with him. But the hungry giant crashes her party and chaos reigns. Alice consults the local librarian, who also understands the magic of wishes. She manages to dispatch the giant after trying a few spells from a magic book. But not for good, judging by the note the giant leaves for Alice.

      This "Level Two First Flight Reader" will amuse young readers with its quirky but likeable characters, brisk and zany plot, and lively illustrations. They will enjoy the character contrast: the giant is a crybaby and so polite while a resourceful Alice shows herself to be "bigger" than the giant as she exhibits compassion and concern for his well-being. The librarian is child-like as she answers the call to help send the giant home. The fast-paced plot, with its single conflict, takes an amusing twist at the end, leaving the reader hoping along with Alice that the giant does indeed return one day.

      Illustrations by Maryann Kovalski are playful and full of action. The type is large enough, the sentences short and vocabulary simple to make this a good choice for new readers moving toward independence. It would work as well as a read-aloud.


Living in BC, Gillian Richardson is a former teacher-librarian and a published children's writer of fiction and nonfiction.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364