Monday, May 21, 2007

How to Make Friends with a Giant

By Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Amy Walrod
G.P. Putnam's, 2006. Unpaged. Picture book.

Gennifer Choldenko's chapter books for young people are legendary, and now we find she
shines in a picture book as well. How to Make Friends with a Giant tells the story of Jake and Jacomo, neighbors and opposites, who become friends against all odds. Jake is short stuff--"shrimp" to his classmates, and Jacomo is so big he can't get into the school bus. Not to be denied a new friend, Jake figures out ways to help Jacomo fit in at school, even after he picks the teacher up to greet her face to face, kicks the soccer ball over the trees, and crowds all the other kids out of the story circle. Jake teaches Jacomo to kick gently, four kids sit on Jacomo's lap for story time, and two good friends arrive home after school, because Jake knows how to make friends with a giant. Amy Walrod's illustrations are funky and funny--Jacomo carries a Robot Elephant lunchbox and Jake a monster mouse model. Miss Sam's pink toenails wiggle in terror when Jacomo swoops her up and her purple pumps fall off. How to Make Friends with a Giant is a book that teaches friendship with anything but a heavy hand.

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