Like a Giant

h1 March 18th, 2021 by jules


“In the morning, a giant will wake up.” This shape-shifting giant visits a child in a puffin hat, and the two set out on an adventure — through the woods, over the ocean, in the mountains, across deserts and towns and islands — that lasts the length of one day. They “discover ruins, cliffs, fossils, jungles, corn fields and parks.” They see flora and fauna that enchant them. It’s a sensory adventure: They “feel the sun and the rain” and the “cool of the night.” With joy, they sneak back home at night — and plan to do it again the next day.

This is Like a Giant (Tate, March 2021), a French picture book import from Marc Daniau and Yvan Duque.

The surreal, panoramic, beautifully wielded illustrations, which take up every inch of space (no borders will rein in this pair), are the star of the show here. This itself is a richly imagined depiction of the boundless imagination of children: The giant is at once a mountain and then a tree, a building, a whale on the ocean, a train. The permutations are endless, and readers sense that even more is in store for the child tomorrow. The palette is one of azure blues, vivid splashes of crimson red, and greens and yellows both muted and warm.

And that puffin hat. What can I say? (My fifteen-year-old daughter now deeply desires one.)

Here are some spreads so that the art can do the talking. …


“And through the mists of time the giant will come to take me on an adventure.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“We will cross the ocean.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“We will move quickly.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“And we will take our time.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


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LIKE A GIANT. © Éditions Thierry Magnier, 2017. This edition published 2020 by order of the Tate Trustees by Tate Publishing. Text and illustrations © Marc Daniau and Yvan Duque 2020. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tate Publishing, London.

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