The Giant and the Sea is a strikingly illustrated picture book with an incredibly powerful message.
On the shore of the sea stood a giant who watched over the water. Down below the giant, on the shore, there was a girl who would sing as she happily played on the sand. The giant never spoke, until one day she would speak some very important words. But when the girl takes the words to the town people they don’t want to listen and that is a very big mistake…
Powerful, moving and important. This book has so many things to love about it. The book teaches the reader about the dangers of climate change but never comes across as preachy. The story is that of a young girl who is trying to save the town and its inhabitants from the rising sea water after being warned of the danger by the giant, who is the watcher of the sea. What the story highlights is that adults are often oblivious to what is happening around them as their daily lives become routine and they become stuck in their ways. Even when danger is staring them in the face they refuse to acknowledge it and continue to do as they have always done in the hope that the problem will go away.
The nameless young girl will be relatable to many young readers who see themselves not listened to by the adults as they try to express their fears and concerns. The girl, her family, and some of the other residents of the city are lucky as they are rescued by the giant. Unfortunately, we do not have a giant to rescue us from the rising sea levels. The responsibility is ours and ours alone and we must heed the giant’s advice and do something about it before it is too late.
The illustrations are striking and the limited colour palette reflects the moody and emotional tone and significance of the narrative. The book could be enjoyed by readers of any age as the book really does span the age ranges. Younger readers will see the dangers of rising sea levels, whilst older readers will hopefully make connections with the dark machines and their link to the climate change crisis.
The fact that the story goes full circle and we see the giant back on what I assume to be a different shore and a young boy ready to listen to the giant’s message shows that the battle against climate change is never going to be complete. It is an on-going struggle, and without the guidance of a giant it is a battle we may very well lose.
A read that will remain in the mind of the reader long after they turn the last page.
Recommended for 5+.