There’s something magical about David Litchfield’s work. Colours are more often deep in tone, yet his illustrations appear to radiate from the page, flicker, sparkle. They don’t however outshine the storyline of Grandad’s Secret Giant, as both are equally spellbinding.
The town of Gableview are in the midst of painting a happy mural on a high wall, but they’re in a pickle because no one can reach the top to finish it. Grandad says that he knows someone who can, someone who frequently helps the town when jobs are too large for others. He’s fixed the town clock, stopped the big oak from falling in a storm, rescued Murphy the dog from the roof. All of this was done in secret, because the mysterious helper is a GIANT. Billy wonders why his grandad keeps the giant a secret and Grandad explains, “Because people are scared of things that are different…When people see the giant, they scream and run away. It makes him sad.”
Litchfield’s message of acceptance and kindness is subtle yet powerful. He embraces serious subjects, those that may cause sorrow, and somehow makes them not only uncomplicated but delightful. We the readers are aware of the giant. Kids can find him on each page. Mistakes are made. They’re corrected. There’s sooooooo much goodness in this book. A beautiful allegory. A pleasurable read.