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An Introduction to The Smartest Giant in Town

Julia Donaldson's The Smartest Giant in Town is a wonderful story with an important moral message. Find out everything about this brilliant picture book here.

About The Smartest Giant in Town

The Smartest Giant in Town (2002) is a bestselling children's picture book by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. It follows a rather scruffy giant who decides he should smarten up his clothes one day, but it's not long before he ends up giving them all away to help others in need. The book won the 2003 Red House Children's Book Award, the 2003 Sheffield Children's Book Award and Blue Peter's Best Book to Read Aloud Award 2004.

Plot of The Smartest Giant in Town

George's clothes have become rather scruffy, so when he sees a new shop in town, he decides to buy a smart new shirt, tie and belt, and a smart new pair of trousers, socks and shoes. He's very pleased with his new outfit - he must be the smartest giant in town!

However, on his way home, he comes across a very cold giraffe, and gives his tie to the giraffe to use as a nice, warm scarf. He then meets a goat on a boat whose sail has flown off, and gives his shirt to the goat to use as a new sail. Next, he sees some very unhappy mice whose house has burned down, and gives them a shoe to use as a new home.

Then, he stumbles across a rather sad fox who dropped his sleeping bag in a puddle, and gives the fox a sock to use as a cosy new sleeping bag. Finally, he sees a dog trying to get across a bog, and gives the dog his belt to use as a path across the mud.

But then his trousers start to fall down, and he feels rather conspicuous! So he decides to go back to the shop to get some more clothes, only to find it's closed. Fortunately, the shop owners have left his scruffy old clothes in a bag outside, so he puts them on and feels very comfortable indeed.

When he gets to his own front door, he finds all the animals he helped have gathered there, and have an enormous box with them. Inside the box, the giant finds a huge paper crown and a card. The animals have written a message in the card, proclaiming George to be the kindest giant in town.

Why We Love The Smartest Giant in Town

We love the moral message this story conveys: that it's not what you have, but who you are and what you do that counts. George couldn't stand to see the animals suffering and therefore generously gave away his smart clothes to help them, and that's what made him a very good person - not the clothes he was wearing! We love that George sets out to be the smartest giant in town but ends up the kindest; the story really shows what truly matters, and kids can absorb this valuable lesson.

Axel Scheffler's gorgeous illustrations bring plenty of fun to the story, and are a pleasure to pore over. We love all the different characters he imaginatively portrays, who are full of charm and expression, and Axel Scheffler's iconic art style never fails to impress.

If, like us, you can't get enough of Julia Donaldson's magical tales, we have a wide range of Julia Donaldson books to browse.