Category Archives: Penny Dale

Once There Were Giants


I challenge any adult to read Giants without getting a little tearful. It is a celebration of the everyday domestic life which is so often overlooked in literature and yet is the joy of having a family.

The book follows a girl from when she is a baby on the rug (and the adults around her seem like giants), to crawling, walking, going to playgroup and then school, getting married and then finally having her own little girl. I was given this book when my son was only a few weeks old and it is a joy to read it with him as he grows up and in turn achieves these different milestones. (At point of writing he’s almost walking to the park to be ‘the one in the duck pond’, but not quite.)

What gives this book top heroine rating is that the main character isn’t perfect. Like all children she does naughty things (‘I called people names and upset the water on Millie Magee’) and she fights with her older brother (‘I got big and strong and punched my brother John.’)

Reading an interview with the author, Martin Waddell, it comes as no surprise that he grew up amongst interesting women (his mother and aunt were actresses) as the female characters in this story are right in the centre of the tale. He also says that he aims to write great dramas in a way which relates to pre-schoolers (Hamlet for four-year-olds) which explains why Giants has the feel of an epic family saga crammed into 24 pages.

Heroine rating 5/5