The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies

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The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: A fresh and original take on the traditional fairy tale character that will appeal to children and adults alike. Highly recommended for everyone but hands off my copy!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1447254744

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The Giant of Jum is hungry and it’s making him grumpy. Luckily he remembers his brother telling him a story about a beanstalk and a boy called Jack and this leads the Giant to set off to find his own Jack. The boy will, he decides, make a very tasty snack. But things don’t work out as he plans. Instead of eating the children he meets along the way he ends up helping them, using his extra height to fetch a lost ball and rescue a cat from a tree. When he finally finds Jack will he really be able to eat Jack up? And if he doesn’t eat Jack, how will he fill his rumbling tummy? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is a fresh and original take on the traditional fairy tale character that will appeal to children and adults alike. Reminiscent of Oscar Wilde’s famous Selfish Giant, the idea of a kind giant will appeal to children while adults will enjoy the modern variations of the Giant’s traditional catch phrases:

"Fee!" he said, and "Fi!" he said, and "Fo!" he said and "Fum!" and
"Ho!" he said, "Hum!" he said and, "Ha!" he said and, "Hee!"

The rhythm and rhyme really add to the enjoyment of this fun and heart-warming book but the story is strong enough that it will undoubtedly translate well into other languages. The repetition is well thought through to enable children to memorise and join in without becoming annoying to the adult reader.

The illustrations are appealing, bright and colourful with a good pacing delivered through a mixture of close up images and scenes viewed from a distance. Given the fashion for relatively flat images in picture books, I particularly liked the three-dimensional quality to the pictures of the Giant.

The pictures also work well to support emerging readers with the text and there are lots of extra details that children can enjoy without adult help. If they’re anything like me, they’ll also make the adults smile. I especially loved the two little goats whispering quietly in the corner of the first page, the frog hiding from the Giant in the mouth of the crocodile, and the pictures of all the different ways the children were trying to tempt the cat from the tree.

This book sees the launch of a new picture book pairing and it’s certainly a team to watch out for. I’m already looking forward to their next collaboration.

This is one of the best picture books I’ve read for a long time with lots to interest the child reader and an adult appeal that will prevent it becoming dull after repeated reading. Highly recommended for everyone.

Further reading suggestion: Nine Words Max by Dan Bar-El and David Huyck

Buy The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard and Benji Davies at Amazon.com.


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