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The Giant at Number Two

Authored by Emily Wensley
Illustrated by Helen Morgan
Published by Tiny Tree Books

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Emily Wensley’s first book, The Giant at Number Two, is a rhyming tale about an inquisitive girl and the giant who lives next door. Daisy-May has been known to make up stories, so her family don’t believe her when she says she’s seen a giant next door wearing a mask. But when she tells her Gran they hatch a plot to find out if there really is a giant. Daisy-May sets up surveillance from her tree house and notices that the giant wears a variety of masks but that he likes baked beans, so one night she and Gran lure him out of his house with a giant-sized pan of baked beans. It turns out that the giant is lonely because the story of Jack and the Beanstalk means that all the neighbours are scared of him when they see him. However, now he has two friends who bring him into the community.

Helen Morgan’s illustrations will please any readers who recall Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s picturebooks of the 1980s: the style is reminiscent of the rounded faces and detailed images of those books and perfectly suits this feel-good story about not judging people on sight. The relationship between Daisy-May and her Gran is lovingly and humorously depicted in the illustrations and Emily Wensley’s quirky and jerky rhymes capture the energy of both Daisy-May and Gran as they track down the elusive neighbour who turns out to be a rotund grandfatherly figure. Readers from 3 years upwards will enjoy both the details of the images and the rhyme that drives the story forward and teachers may want to build on the idea of a fairy tale ‘villain’ not being quite what he seems.