Yeesh, how was I convinced that this debuted next month and not this one?
But hey, here we are now! And here are Ava and Mason, on what seems to be the incongruously named Giant Island, a small islet that they set out to explore with their dog Cooper while Grandpa goes fishing in the same spot his own grandpa showed him as a child. The cover itself is a spoiler for the mystery inside but also serves to ease the reader into the book’s world, where the children discover the magic of having an honest-to-goodness giant to play with on a pleasant summer’s day.
There’s a lot of magic in the way this gentle tale is conveyed, with easy to read prose and an art style that’s very Green Man, sketched out with the barest shades of menace before turning entirely to the whimsical and delightful. I hadn’t been familiar with Doug Keith before this book, but his illustrations are perfect for this modern fairy tale that riffs on long-standing global myths of large geological formations being the embodiments or remains of larger than life beings.
This book, like the myths it’s based on, also works as a metaphor for how nature can seem or even be scary and overwhelming, but is open to playfulness and wonder under the right circumstances. My eldest kid enjoyed reading this with me, tho he was unsurprised by any of the clearly telegraphed plot twists (but he is also 11, so.) It’s another lovely, kid-friendly addition to the Jane Yolen collection of any self-respecting fantasy fan.
Giant Island by Jane Yolen & Doug Keith was published August 1 2022 by Flashlight Press and is available from all good booksellers, including