Billy saves the day when he finds the only person tall enough to finish the new town mural.
The friendly citizens of Gableview are working on a mural that decorates the wall surrounding their town; it will welcome visitors from far and near. But no one can reach the top to finish the mural. Grandad has a great idea: ask the Secret Giant to help, regaling a skeptical Billy with tales of the Giant’s fantastic feats, like the time he lay across a gap in the bridge so that cars could cross or the time he rescued a fishing boat caught in a storm. The next day, Billy and his dog go for their morning walk and run smack into the Giant himself, with “legs as long as drainpipes and hands the size of tabletops.” And what is the Giant doing? Painting the wall, of course. Billy runs away in fright but regrets it, realizing the “Giant stays hidden away because people are afraid of him. He just doesn’t feel welcome.” After a little thinking, Billy and Grandad concoct an idea for a way to show the Giant he really is welcome. Litchfield uses the metaphor of a friendly giant to lead readers to understand they don’t need to be “scared of things that are different,” but in depicting the Giant as endlessly self-sacrificing and ever helpful to an ungrateful population, he sends a murky message indeed. Billy, Grandad, and the Giant all present white.
Skip this well-intended book. (Picture book. 5-8)