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Kate’s Giants

By Valiska Gregory

Illustrated by Virginia Austin

The Story

There is a door in Kate’s new room as small and curious as Kate herself. Every night, she imagines scary things creeping through it. “If you can think them up, you can think them out,” say her parents. But Kate can do even better than that.

In Valiska Gregory wise and wonderful story, a deep breath and a bit of courage turn phantom fears into make-believe friends.

Virginia Austin is the well-known British illustrator of such popular books as Martin Waddell's Sailor Bear and her own Go to Bed!

The Story Behind the Story

What I intended to tell when I sat down at my desk was the story of how my youngest daughter figured out a way to keep scary things from coming through the attic door in her new room.  I found her studiously coloring a thick, smile-shaped wedge of wood with her red and black crayons. When I asked her what she was doing, she answered, “I’m making a watermelon to keep things from coming through that attic door.”  It made four-year old sense:  if you need a way to keep the monsters out, you need something really heavy to put in front of the door, and to a four-year old nothing is heavier than a watermelon.  But once I’d invented the character of Kate, she had a mind of her own.  She wanted nothing to do with my daughter’s solution to the problem and quickly found her own.

The book was done as a joint production here and abroad with my American Candlewick editor and the illustrator’s British Walker Books editor.  It amused me to receive phone calls from the U.K. from an editor so enthusiastic about the book that he would occasionally say, “Oh, Good-O!”