'Anzo' means 'giant' in ancient German- and eleven year old Anzo is most definitely NOT a giant. He is, in fact, very short. His mother, father and two uncles are very, very tall which makes things worse. They are also very clever and completely obsessed with opening a restaurant together. Everyone has their part to play - leaving Anzo feeling overlooked in more ways than one.
There is so much in this book that makes it a great read aloud. Not only is it full of humour, the story explores some interesting ideas which could then be discussed easily with those listening.
Anzo sometimes feels invisible in his family. They are portrayed as loving, loud and unusual. 'Living life to the full' is their motto and Anzo's house is full of noise- singing, shouting, drilling, laughing...but often Anzo feels that they don't listen to him or realise what is important to him. At the end of the book, it becomes clear that misunderstandings can easily happen- even in the most loving families.
Being shorter than average causes Anzo to be on the receiving end of 'teasing' from a boy called Josh at school-
'Josh's sense of humour is based completely on other people's misery. The more miserable someone is, the more hilarious he finds it.'
This 'teasing' is hard to ignore and would make an excellent starting point for discussing how things that are 'meant as a joke' are often not found funny by those on the receiving end. Kate Scott given Anzo a great personality- really believable and likeable- making it easy for the reader to relate to him and empathise with his troubles.
Anzo's love of comics and talent for drawing cartoon strips really shines through and, with it, the idea of the importance of following your dreams. His friendship with Elise and her support of him through his trials and tribulations and her encouragement of his ambition are warmly portrayed. Her lessons in positive thinking and confidence building are wonderful- I think we all need an Elise fighting our corner!
'Giant' is a brilliant book- a real 'feel good' read with a giant heart!
Giant by Kate Scott, illustrated by Alexandra Gunn
Piccadilly ISBN: 978-1848125643