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GOOD NIGHT GIANTS by Heinz Janisch


by Heinz Janisch & illustrated by Helga Bansch

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: May 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0950-7
Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

This odd compendium of story, song lyrics and advice to parents misses the mark as a prescription for sweet dreams.

The beginning and ending scenes focus on a little boy who is having difficulty getting to sleep. He concentrates on counting imaginary giants as a way to relax, enumerating groups of different giants from a pair up to six and then back down to another pair of huge creatures, shown with just their feet sticking out from a red blanket. The rhyming text in these sequences is quite sing-song and doesn’t scan well, possibly as a result of having been translated from the original German. The giants themselves have an eerie, nightmarish quality in the illustrations, which are done in a loose, cartoonlike style in watercolor and pencil. The activities of the giants are nonsensical, as in a dream, showing them on rooftops or coming out of a huge watering can. The words to a song are also provided, urging “happy thoughts” and repeated deep breathing, though there is no music included, and the words don’t readily transfer to a familiar melody. Two pages of advice to parents on getting children to sleep finish it off.

Strange giants, sing-song rhymes and generic psychological advice don’t add up to a soothing bedtime read. (Picture book. 3-5)