Book Review: Greta and the Giants by Zoë Tucker & Zoe Persico (2019)

December 17th, 2019 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

An empowering fable inspired by Greta Thunberg.

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

Greta is just a child, not much older than this picture book’s intended audience, when the Giants who live near her forest home start to run amok. Though they have always been around, lately they have become greedier and greedier, cutting down the forest’s trees with reckless abandon, building factories that belch smoke into the air, and just generally trampling over the many other creatures who call the forest home.

Desperate, the bears and foxes and squirrels turn to young Greta for help. She is only one person – and a small one, at that – but her stand against the Giants inspires other children to take action as well. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending: easily shamed, the Giants are horrified by their lack of manners and empathy, and quickly move to set things right.

Sadly, the real Greta – Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish girl who serves as inspiration for this fable – is actually mocked, teased, subjected to ableism, and dismissed as “hysterical” by the IRL Giants, who have neither a sense of shame, nor a conscience. But that wouldn’t make for a very uplifting picture book, would it?

That said, the book’s afterward introduces readers to the real Greta, and the myriad of challenges she’s faced. It also includes a list of actions that kids can take, in the here and now, to help make Greta’s dream a reality. (Thankfully, nestled among the suggestions is “eat less meat,” though methinks “go vegan” would be more apt, especially since Greta is. One of us, one of us!)

The artwork in Greta and the Giants is lovely, as is the message. I especially love the diversity of faces – kids of all races, ethnicities, and religions join Greta in her fight, and there’s no understating the importance of representation. This is a great book to help engage younger readers with the world around them, and empower them to take action in their own communities. It shouldn’t be up to them, but we grownups have failed them, miserably.

My only regret? That Esther the Wonder Pig didn’t land a cameo.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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