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The Smartest Giant in Town - Julia Donaldson

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Author: Julia Donaldson / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 September 2003 / Genre: Children's General Fiction / Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Title: The Smartest Giant in Town / ISBN 13: 9780333963968 / ISBN 10: 0333963968

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      19.09.2013 19:40
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      brilliant read

      This book is another example of a purchase I made purely on the fact the author is Julia Donaldson. Due to the success of 'The Gruffalo' and 'Room on the Broom', and how loved they are in this household, I assumed this would be just as brilliant to read.

      'The Smartest Giant in Town' tells the story of George the giant, unhappy with his scruffy clothes he buys himself some lovely new clothes. He is very pleased with his new outfit until on his way home he meets some animals who are in need of his help. In the end up, he ends up losing his smart new clothes, but makes lots of new friends due to his kindness. This is a heartwarming story with a lovely message. George is unselfish and kind and is rewarded for this.

      The book is written in Donaldson's signature rhyme, with lots of repetition which allows it to be easily remembered, I can often hear my daughter reciting "My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe..." in bed at bedtime! This is also coupled with the fantastic illustrations by Axel Scheffler, who also illustrated 'The Gruffalo' and 'Room on the Broom'. The attention to detail is brilliant and there are lots of extra characters in the pictures not mentioned in the story that my daughter loves to point out. There is also an element of humour in the story as George ends up with his trousers around his ankles which my 6 year old nephew very much appreciates and finds hilarious!

      This book has become my favourite Donaldson book and has completely overtaken 'The Gruffalo'. I love the message it portrays to my daughter and children in general and it's an absolute pleasure to read. This is a must have book for any adult who loves a book with a little humour to read to the kiddies at bedtime.

      'The Smartest Giant in Town' retails at £6.99 but is currently on Amazon priced at £4.

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      27.01.2013 12:16
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      My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe

      The smartest giant in town is a 32 page hardback book by the excellent Julia Donaldson and her illustrator Axel Scheffler. Available new on Amazon for £4.79 or used for around £2.80 it is probably in the second division of her books, not matching The Gruffalo and other classics, but still providing a fun tale for kids to read along with.

      The Story:

      A scruffy giant trades in his rubbish old clothes and buys a new outfit in town, he decides to sharpen his image and then walks home singing to himself. The giant is proud of his new look, however he bumps into various animals who are upset for various reasons and ends up giving up parts of his clothing to the animals to help them, ie giving socks to a fox as a sleeping bag, or his shirt to a goat on a boat as a sail.

      As some of these examples might illustrate this provides the giant with a catchy rhyming song to explain his developing predicament as he transforms from the smartest giant in town to a giant desperately in need of some clothes.

      The Book:

      Typically this is 32 pages, each with around 2 lines of text on it, meaning you can show lots of pictures and get across lots of ideas to young minds without overloading or boring them. The illustrations are excellent and there is lots of colour and things to see on each page, the use of different animals is also very welcome and there are around 6-7 different voices required for the story.

      Price wise I think the used book is decent value, it is something you will read regularly and the repitition is key as always in Donaldson's books.

      Unlike some of the others the rhyming elements focus on the Giants song and other areas of the story don't rhyme, this meant my little one wasn't quite as gripped by the stories flow as she is with some of Donaldson's other books, I also don't think this is quite as interesting or as well told as some of the others.

      It is still and enjoyable book, but I felt it lacked the focus or story of some of the other books and my childs reaction tells me this is a book to read mid-morning rather than as the big story before bedtime as it never quite grabs in the same way as the Gruffallo or What the Ladybird heard.

      Overall this is a decent book and one we've got great value out of and will continue to do so for sometime to come, it just isn't up there with the best of Donaldson and only gets a 4 for this reason.

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        22.11.2012 09:46
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        The smartest giant in town

        From the author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson we are brought another classic childrens book, this time telling the tale of George the giant. My son received this book as a present for his first birthday so we have been reading it for a few weeks now. I love receiving books for my children, the gift of reading and stories is one of the best you can give so this was gladly received and has become part of our bedroom routine.

        On the back of the book we are given this synopsis, "George wished he wasn't the scruffiest giant in town. So, one day, when he sees a new shop selling giant-sized clothes, he decides it's time for a new look. With smart trousers, a smart shirt, stripy tie and shiny shoes, George is a new giant.

        But, on his way home, he meets various animals who desperately need his help..... and his clothes!"

        I do like this story, I don't think its going to be a classic like The Gruffalo is but then I think that book is always going to be hard to live up too as it is so well known and so loved. The story is a nice one though and I think it teaches children a lot of good traits such as sharing and being kind and friendly and that sometimes when you do nice things like this, nice things will come your way too. It also has a lot of different animals in it such as giraffe, a fox and some mice so it is a really good way of teaching kids about animals through listening to a story. I read it to my one year old and three year old and they both really like it. My little girl can now tell you what is coming next in the book and what item of clothing George will take off to give to someone else.

        Julia Donaldson uses rhyming words in her story again like her other books and a lot of repetition too so by the time you have read this book for a few nights at bedtime you will find that your little one can say the words or the sentences just as you are saying them too. Its remembering but I also think its the first step to reading as well because if you know what the words are and hear them and then see them written down you can begin to learn to read. I like the rhyming words in this book as this helps me to get a rhythm going and really get into the story and tell it with a bit of animation and fun rather than just reading it flatly.

        The book we have is a wonderfully large paperback book so its really easy to hold and show to my kids when I am reading it to them and it also makes the pictures easy to see too. The text is nice and bold and plainly written so its easy for me to read and easy for them to see the words too. I have gotten to the point now where I am running my finger under the words as I am reading them and showing it to my little girl so she can start to recognise the words.

        As always the illustrations of this book are drawn by Axel Scheffler. They are really colourful and detailed and lots of fun too and I think also help to bring the book and story to life through pictures. On the back of the book it tells you that this book costs £6.99 and is availalbe from Macmillan books.

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        19.11.2011 11:25
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        You will adore this book and so will your children.

        George was a giant, the scruffiest giant in town... I can pretty much read this book without even looking at the page, and so can my three year old. We absolutely adore it, it has everything that a childrens book should have it is heart warming and generous to a fault.

        The book is written by Julia Donaldson is a wonderful writer and we own pretty much all of her books, obviously the Gruffalo is super popular with young children but in our house we're with George all the way. Axel Scheffler's illustrations are perfect as usual and really bring the story to life.

        In the book we meet George the giant, he is the scruffiest giant in town but transforms himself with lots of lovely new clothes from a shop he finds in town. George's kind heart leads him to help a giraffe, a little white mouse, a dog, a fox and a goat, gradually giving away his new finery. It is a beautiful story about generousity and helping others which the young and old alike will enjoy. It's rhyming sections allow even young children to get involved with the book and feel like they reading for themselves. Both my boys (three and a half, 16 months) love story time and this book is a constant feature on our reading list. If you haven't already read it, get a copy, your favourite armchair and a squidgy tiddler and get reading.

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          08.06.2011 11:57
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          A brilliant book

          As my daughter is such a lover of books, I am always buying her more for her collection when I am out shopping, or through The Book People. One day I received a brochure through the post from The Book People and in it was a set of books which included The Gruffalo which is one of my little girls favourite books. I decided to purchase the set as they were all from the creators of that fantastic book so I thought that my daughter would love them.

          One of the books in the set was The Smartest Giant In Town and is written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The book is a hardbacked book and the cover shows a very large pair of legs surrounded by small animals. At the start of the book we meet George, the giant, who unfortunately is a very scruffy giant - in facr he is the scruffiest giant in town! George is very sad at being so scruffy, so one day he is thrilled to see a new shop open which is full of smart clothes so he decides to buy himself a whole new outfit. George is now the smartest giant in town! On his way home George encounters a number of different animals who all need help - a giraffe who has a cold neck so George gives him his tie to use as a scarf, a goat who needs a sail for his boat so George gives him his shirt to use and various other animals who have similar problems. After helping all the animals George is left with no new clothes and is now the coldest giant in town! Luckily for George, his old clothes are left outside the shop and he sets off home where he finds a box and a letter from all the animals he helped and though he is still the scruffiest giant in town, he is also the kindest giant in town!

          The story is written in a really clever way, and features rhyme throughout which I love in childrens books as rhyme and repetition are important for children. After helping each animal, George says a little rhyme which is repeated after each one and gets longer the more animals he helps.

          "My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe, my shirt's on a boat as a sail for a goat, but look me up and down - I'm the smartest giant in town"

          I really like how this story reads, the pictures in it are fantastic and my daughter can easily follow the story by the pictures alone as it shows the animals problems stage by stage and then how the giant has helped them. The rhyme factor in the story is also great and this has made it a very popular book already in our house. A book that contains morals is a real hit with me and I like how this story shows children that it is nice to help others even if it means sacrificing something of theirs and with such a lovely feel good ending it teaches children that good things happen when they help others.

          The recommended retail price of this book is £10.99 but can be found on Amazon for just over £3.00 which is a real bargain in my opinion. The book is available in hardback, paperback and even a board version so it is suitable for younger children though I think the story would be a little old for them. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I look forward to reading other stories by this fantastic author.

          Thank you for reading my review.

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            12.01.2010 22:02
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            A story of great kindness with lots of imaginative uses for giants clothes!

            Yet another good book by Julia Donaldson, this story tells of a scruffy giant who buys lovely new clothes. He feels very smart and proud as he walks home and just a little too generous as he meets unfortunate animals along the way.

            "My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe,
            My shirt's on a boat as a sail for a goat."

            Of course the poor giant ends up cold and scruffy and not at all smart and in need of some cheering up. In true story-book style all the animals come along to help him out in return and we have our happy ending.

            Though not the best book she has written, she has set a very high standard for herself, so that doesn't mean it's not great. It is a wonderful story with funny rhymes and pictures. It is better suited to an audience a little older, 5 - 7 perhaps as I found the older kids got a great kick out of him ending up with half his clothes gone and his trousers down about his ankles.

            Highly recommended.

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            18.12.2009 01:25
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            Definitely one to watch out for.

            As you may have already guessed I have been reading through all of Julia Donaldson's children's books and the more I read the more I love.
            The Smartest Giant in Town is a tale of great kindness that was rewarded and it is uplifting for any child to think that they too will be rewarded in a small way for their kind acts. The book title is especially clever, the Giant is smart in more than one ways than one.

            Axel Scheffler has given us a larger than life Giant who lives in a very colourful town, the animals , wildlife and countryside in the book all draw the eye and give so much pleasure to the readers and listeners alike.
            When the book first came out the reviewer from The Independent described it as being his favourite picture book of the year - I tend to agree with him when he states that Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are a combination made in heaven. This has to be the type of story that dreams are made of.

            George is our giant and he is a scruffy giant, he wanders the streets wearing a tattered old smock that is patched over and over again and a pair of old leather sandals. Everyone in town looks so smart in comparison and George finds himself wishing that he too could look a little bit tidier.
            At that point it seems that Georges luck is in - a new clothes shop opens in town and it just happens to sell giants clothing ! ( this really made me giggle!)
            So George sets about buying a new outfit, he kits himself out and he looks quite the dandy. A whole page is set aside to show you what George bought and that page is easily memorised by little readers. George bought a smart shirt, some smart trousers, a smart stripy tie, a smart belt, some very smart yellow socks with diamonds up the sides and a pair of smart black leather shiny shoes.

            George then left his old clothes behind him and headed off to parade the streets in his new outfit. The next few pages illustrate how Julia Donaldson is able to create a fantasy world for children to relish.
            George is strutting along and he `bumps into` a giraffe ! The giraffe happens to have a long cold neck, George instantly sees that he could solve the giraffes problem and proffers his nice smart new stripy tie, the giraffe accepts his kind offer and ends up winding the tie around his chilly neck.

            The townsfolk have been beautifully illustrated, we have women hanging washing out while plump pink pigs wheel their wheel barrows and an elf goes whizzing by on a bicycle, all of these are fun to point out as you read and you must let the children see the rabbit using his mobile phone- he looks so cool !

            George meets many along the way and they all have problems but he is aware that he is able to solve those problems by giving them an item of his clothing. It caused great hilarity when we saw that a family of little field mice were going to have one of Georges shoes as a new family home.
            But when George meets the fox who has dropped his sleeping bag in a puddle that is the icing on the cake, the picture of the fox snuggled up in one of Georges yellow socks with diamonds on is brilliantly funny.

            The story goes on and George meets up with more people who could benefit from being given a piece of his new clothing and the kind and gentle giant George never refuses to hem any of them.
            But there comes a time that George has no more to give and he has to return to the shop to buy some more clothing.
            George was in for a shock- but after all he had gone through to help the animals that he met along the way it was a shock that turned into a surprise that turned into a joyous occasion.
            George receives an unexpected present in return for all his kindness.

            When you read the book take time to go through the letter at the very back of the book, the children just loved it and they could relate to it so well.
            Although George is rewarded for his kindness it is good to see that he is given something fairly simple and inexpensive which he in turn is thrilled with.

            The tale is warming and it makes both reader and listener feel good and the moral is that kindness will be rewarded but not necessarily at great cost.

            Another very special tale from a very special and much respected author and it would be a great addition to any child's collection.
            We have the paperback copy and that cost £5.99 from W.H.Smith.

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              14.11.2009 10:03
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              Julia Donaldson book about a generous giant

              Julia Donaldson is a very popular children's author. She has a knack of creating great stories, making them even more appealing with the wording and often the rhyming, andalso with the relaxing and involving colours in the illustrations, usually by Alex Scheffler.

              The Smartest Giant In Town tells the tale of George the Giant, who is unhappy because he only has a raggedy old gown and a pair of old sandals to wear. He decides to go and buy himself some new clothes, but out on a walk wearing his new getup, he finds himself losing his clothing piece by piece as he endeavours to help others in need by solving their problems with his wardrobe! Finally, he arrives back home, cold and near clothesless, only to find a nice surprise there waiting for him.

              It's a really nice tale that involves George being a giant quite cleverly, such as using his show as a home for mice and donating his sock to a fox who has a soaking wet sleeping bag. I suppose the moral of the story is to be kind and helpful to others in need.

              Donaldson's writing is appealing, easy to read and well spaced out with the illustrations to make it easier for younger readers to try on their own. Our 5 year old has been given this one as his latest reading book, to challenge him as he is dong so well, but he managed to cruise through it. There are some nice rhyming parts after each of George's good deeds, which sets a structure out for the story, and I think this format makes kids want to read a bit more, as they want to see where the familiar parts progress to. Our son's anticipation of each of the rhyming verses was quite intriguing to watch.

              Scheffler's illustrating is very appealing. It is quite rounded in terms of the contours, and is appealing and soft and relaxing. Quite often, illustrators tend to use too many harsh lines and colours, but here it is also soft whilst maintaining distinction and vibrance. Full colours and impressive artwork.

              Overall, it is a book I recommend for your kids, of any age really. There's nothing scary in it, just some good illustrations and a ncie story. I recommend all of Donaldson's books. She's on top of her game with these books, and I hope she writes many more. The book retails at £5.99.

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                19.10.2009 21:32
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                Recommended

                The Smartest Giant in Town is another story by the popular duo of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the people who brought us the Gruffalo and Stick Man.

                This book tells the story of George, a giant, and the scruffiest giant in town. One day, George decides to smarten up his act, and visits new shop which has opened up in town. George purchases a whole new outfit of smart shirt, trousers, belt, tie, socks with diamonds down the sides and shiny new shoes. He declares himself to be the smartest giant in town! As George heads home however, he meets many animals who are in need of his help including a giraffe with a cold neck, a goat who is in need of a new sail for his boat, and a homeless family of mice. Being a friendly giant, George just can't resist helping them. Along the way George looses his new glamorous clothing, but realises what it is that is really important.

                The Smartest Giant in Town is a lovely story with a nice message for preschoolers, and an enjoyable one for parents to read. The story is
                engaging and accompanied by Axel Schefflers wonderful illustrations which are typically detailed, and really bring the story to life. My sons and I have enjoyed all of the books by Julia Donaldson which we have come accross, and this one does not dissapoint. I would thoroughly recommend this book to any preschool age children.

                The Smartest Giant in Town is published by Campbell books. It is available in both paper-back and board book versions (great for the rough time little hands can give it!) and costs from just £3.23 on Amazon.

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                19.08.2009 20:51
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                Appearances aren't everything.

                I am always looking to add to my little girl's book collection, as although she is too young to fully understand the story being told I feel that it is good to encourage reading as a hobby and I enjoy the bonding that comes from sitting down and looking at a book together. Having already purchased 'The Gruffalo' and 'Room on the Broom' (and loving them both), I decided to order 'The Smartest Giant in Town' from Amazon, as it is written and illustrated by the same team - the very talented Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

                'The Smartest Giant in Town' tells the story of George, who at the beginning of the book carries the unfortunate title of 'the scruffiest giant in town'. Fortunately for George he comes across a new clothes shop and sets about purchasing an entire new outfit to make him the smartest giant in town instead. However on his way home he encounters a number of animals who need help and George being the kind and friendly bloke that he is, gives away items from his new wardrobe bit by bit to help them out. For example the first animal he comes across is a giraffe, who has a cold neck, so George rather cleverly donates his new stripy tie to be wound round and round the giraffe's neck (but it's okay, because the tie didn't match his new socks anyway!). The rest of the book continues in a similar vein until he hardly has any clothes left and his trousers fall down, because he's given his new belt away to a dog who was crossing a bog!

                When George finally arrives home (having returned to the shop to find it closed and then discovering a bag full of his old, scruffy clothes which he immediately puts back on), he finds the tribe of animals that he has helped waiting outside for him with a card and a paper crown to thank him for being the 'kindest giant in town'.

                Although this book doesn't quite have the same charm as 'The Gruffalo' or 'Room on the Broom', it is very nicely written and very easy to read aloud, due to being written in rhyme. The words flow nicely and the illustrations are very well done - complimenting the story perfectly and adding interest and humour to the tale. They are also very clever - for example just after George helped the giraffe, we can see a 'Missing Giraffe' poster on the fence (in the same picture, it looks like one of the lady giants who is passing by, seems to have taken a bit of a fancy to the new smart George too!).

                There is a lot of repetition in the book, meaning that children should probably be able to join in at certain stages, but it doesn't get boring or stale for the adult reader. The story has a nice moral to it, which is that you should help others when you can and likewise, if someone does you a good turn then it's nice to thank them for it. The end of the story leaves you feeling good, which is great!

                We have the board book version of this book, although it is also available in large paperback and hardback. My little girl enjoys looking at the pictures and she is also at the age where she loves just turning the board pages over and over (not so great when your thumb is in the way and gets crushed!). Being made of cardboard, this book is durable and wipe clean so good for little ones and I am sure that it will be sturdy enough to last for years to come.

                Our board book version costs £3.89 from Amazon.co.uk and the paperback version is slightly cheaper at £3.07.

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                  22.06.2009 12:38
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                  Should be part of your collection

                  Personally, I found this book a bit of a "slow-burner" rather than the instant hits of some of the other Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler collaborations. On the first reading, I was less than enthused, although my son loved it instantly and wanted it over...and over...and over again. And now it is amongst my favourite kids' reads.
                  The plot is sweet: Essentially George is a scruffy giant with a kind heart who smartens up and then ends up using all his smart new purchases to help various characters in distress that he meets along the way. (That was my reading of it, although my husband feels this is the tale of a gullible giant who is conned and cheated out of the shirt off his back (literally) by a series of animal fraudsters...)
                  I found myself warming to the story when I started to develop the characters by giving them amusing voices. One big challenge when reading this aloud however, is that George sings after meeting each new character, and the song gets longer and longer...so prepare to improvise the tune, or chant, or just miss that bit out, as a friend of mine does!
                  Overall kids seem to love this book, and while it's not quite The Gruffalo, it is a grower.

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                  08.03.2009 14:08
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                  This is one book you won't regret buying...

                  George is a very scruffy giant. One day he finds a clothes shop who sell him some lovely, smart clothes. Geaorge, chuffed with his new attire, walks back home, but on his way, he meets various animals who need help, and he helps them with his clothes!

                  This is another great book to come from the combined talents of Julia Donaldson (writer) and Axel Scheffler (illustrator), who were the creative forces behind the Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's child. This book does not disappoint. The Smartest Giant in Town has the same fun, entertaining style as the Gruffalo books, and the same detailed, imaginative drawings. The writing style is somewhat different from the Gruffalo books, however, in that whilst it still has some rhyming, it's not as frequent, and seems to only really be used when George is singing about the animals he has helped. This doesn't detract from the fun though, as the book rattled along at a good pace designed to keep kids interested.

                  And interest them it does. At 30 pages long, it keeps children occupied for a good while without being too long, and boring them. Thanks to this, it is ideal for young kids who are just learning to read, as long as providing great bedtime reading with mum or dad. I'd say its aimed at under 5s although some over this age may still enjoy it. It was published in 2002, and the paperback edition costs £5.99, a bargin price for a book which will be treasured for years to come.

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                    14.01.2009 22:36
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                    A book to be read again and again - treasure and enjoy!

                    'The Smartest Giant in Town' is a children's picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the team behind The Gruffalo books and many other popular picture books. They are a hit with children and parents alike, mainly due to their humour, simplicity and rhythmic verse.

                    This book tells the story of George, 'the scruffiest giant in town', but George is fed up with being scruffy so he visits a shop and buys some smart new clothes. Here we are treated to the first example of repetition as George has become 'the smartest giant in town.' George makes his way home but on the journey he meets a number of animals, all of whom are in need of help. George uses his clothes to help them until he is nearly naked and his trousers fall down. George goes back to wearing his old clothes but after his small adventure, is given the new title of 'the kindest giant in town.'

                    This is a simple story, yet it still holds onto the basics of any good standard children's tale. We meet the main character, he finds himself in an unfortunate situation, follows a journey which builds to an exciting climax, this is resolved and there is a happy, satisfactory ending. The story offers many traditional elements - animals, fantasy creatures - but also branches out into modern, child-like humour, when George's trousers fall down. Young children will find this extremely funny, even if they can't read for themselves, as it is supported by a large depiction. It also becomes a moral tale, as George is rewarded with a hand-written letter and a crown from the animals that he has helped. It is even more appealing that when we meet George he is 'scruffy' and by the end he is 'kind' - he is the underdog and he has triumphed!

                    The main story is written as a gentle rhyme but every time George helps an animal he sings a song, adding another line, dependant on which animal he has helped,

                    'My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe,
                    My shirt's on a goat as a sail for a goat,
                    My shoe is house for a little white mouse,
                    But look me up and down -
                    I'm the smartest giant in town.'

                    He always finishes with 'I'm the smartest giant in town.' This repetition offers familiarity to children and means that this book is equally enjoyable whether read alone or with an adult. Children often find it easier to join in with rhymes as they can use the sounds to guess what words are coming next. The repetition helps them to remember the story and eventually they may be able to recite the main part of the book from memory. This is often the first way that children experience reading, they believe they are reading when in fact they are memorising - either way it may give them a sense of achievement and spurs them on to read more.


                    The illustrations that support the text are extremely important to this book as a package - the author and illustrator are given equal credit for the books creation. Donaldson writes the story first and Scheffler illustrates independent of her, so many of the added details are his own input. The pictures are big, bold and colourful and often take up the whole page - very engaging for young children. There is often opportunity to use these pictures to wander from the text to create new stories and games. Page 5 offers six separate images of the clothing that George buys, with the vocabulary underneath. This would be useful for older children who can recognise the pictures and thus recognise the actual world, whilst younger children who are being read to, can simply use the pictures to learn the spoken words for each object. If you look carefully you can spot extra characters popping up in the story via these illustrations, like a fishing cat who appears later on in the book cooking his fish. Although the cat is not mentioned this can offer the possibility of games where children can look for the cat or older children could attempt new additions to the giant's song, for example, 'My shoe is a dish for a cat catching fish.'

                    The book offers further opportunities for this kind of creativity. Adults could create sub-stories related to the text, such as why the dog needs to cross a bog or where the goat is going on the boat - to add further interest and make sure that they get their money's worth from the book. They could even inspire some creativity in children by asking them to think of some ideas or for older children to write stories based upon the further exploits of the animals.

                    'The Smartest Giant in Town' is a book that would appeal to a wide age range, probably from 2 up to 7, simply because it is the kind of book that children grow up with, become familiar with and always get pride and pleasure from going back to. It can help to enhance children's recognition, vocabulary and reading and for older children can be used to encourage further literacy activity.

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                      05.03.2008 19:02
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                      Another classic from Julia Donaldson.

                      The Smartest Giant in Town - Julia Donaldson
                      This was the first of Julia Donaldson's books that I read. It wasn't straight away a favourite but it has definitely grown on me.
                      It's a story about a friendly giant who one day decides that he doesn't want to be scruffy anymore so visits a new shop in town and kits himself out with a whole outfit. Unfortunately on his way home he meets a series of animals that have problems which he finds he can solve with the help of him new clothes. By the end of the book he has almost none of his new clothes and he makes his way back to the shop to get some more. But the shop is closed...

                      It is a tale of kindness and has a silly song that is expanded upon throughout the story. There are a few funny remarks which we now use as jokes within the family which my 3 year old thinks is very funny.

                      This is also available as an audio story which is a real must for car journeys.

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                      25.01.2007 18:42
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                      Another Donaldson favourite.

                      ***Background***

                      Nick Sharratt has illustrated quite a lot of Julia Donaldson’s books that I’ve reviewed, but in this one, it is Axel Scheffler who joins her. He was also the illustrator for her best selling book The Gruffalo.

                      ***The Story***

                      The story starts,

                      “George was a giant, the scruffiest giant in town.
                      He always wore the same pair of old brown sandals and the same old patched-up gown.
                      ‘I wish I wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town,’ he said sadly.”

                      He then finds a new shop that caters for giants and he bought a whole new outfit for himself so that he was the now the smartest giant in town.

                      He leaves the shop in all his new clothes only to find a giraffe looking very sad because his neck is cold. George is so nice that he takes off his tie and wraps it round the giraffe’s neck. The result – one happy giraffe.

                      As we go through the book, George finds lots of other animals in trouble and ends up giving away all of his clothes including his shirt, one shoe, one sock and his belt. This doesn’t bother him as he hops along and sings a song,

                      “My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe,
                      My shirt’s on a boat as a sail for a goat,
                      My show is a house for a little white mouse,
                      One of my socks is a bed for a fox,
                      My belt helped a dog who was crossing a bog,
                      But…..

                      My trousers are falling down!
                      I’m the coldest giant in town!”

                      He realises he needs some more clothes but finds that the shop is closed for the day. He is very sad until he notices a bag with his old clothes in and puts them on. He realises that he is now the cosiest giant in town and then gets a lovely surprise when all the animals he has helped turn up with a lovely card with a crown to go with his sandals and gown. They all agree he is the kindest giant in town.

                      ***The Illustrations***

                      The pictures are drawn in a lovely manner and there are lots of funny things going on in the backgrounds such as the rabbit looking perplexed at the poster of the missing giraffe. The colours and bright and set of well against white background with the black text on.

                      ***My Thoughts***

                      My son has loved every Julia Donaldson book that he has come across and I have to admit that she is a great favourite of mine too. The simple stories and repetition throughout the book makes for a great read with any youngster, who can help out by remembering the rhymes.

                      This one does have more of a story to go with the rhymes than some of her other books but it has to be said that it seems to balance out really well. The pictures in the book go brilliantly with the story and I love the way that the tales of woe are told by the animals in smaller 3 part drawings.

                      What is really good about this book is that the giant finds out that being the smartest giant in town may be nice, but being the kindest giant in town is ever better. When the animals give him the crown and the card, with all that he has done for them written on it he looks happier than he did, when he got all his new clothes.

                      It’s always good to read a book to a child that promotes acts of kindness, although I’m not too sure I’d be happy if my son came home one day telling me that he had given his clothes away. The thought is there though and is shows that helping others can bring great rewards and that friendship is more important than anything else.

                      This book is one that I’m sure any parent will enjoy reading to their children and I’m sure that their children will enjoy it just as much.


                      ***Other Julia Donaldson Books***

                      The Gruffalo
                      The Gruffalo’s Child
                      The Snail And The Whale
                      A Squash And A Squeeze
                      Room On A Broom
                      Sharing A Shell
                      Wriggle And Roar
                      Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose

                      ***Price and Availability***

                      This hardback version is priced at £9.99 but is available from Tesco for only £6.49. It is also available in paperback form for £5.99 but again Tesco have it for only £4.49.

                      Hardback ISBN No. 0333961447
                      Paperback ISBN No. 0333963962

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                    • Product Details

                      George was very happy being the scruffiest giant in town. But one day, when he sees a shop stocking giant-size clothes, he decides it's time to update his image. With smart clothes, George is a new man. However, as he goes home, he meets various animals who desperately need his help...