Title: A Giant Problem
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi
First published September 1, 2008
154 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780689871320 (ISBN10: 0689871325)
Nick and Laurie are back with another giant problem that will leave you breathless. This time, their mission from Taloa to find her sisters leads them to a startling discovery.
The fire breathing giant they encountered before was just the beginning. As they venture deeper into the unknown, they realize that they are up against a much larger and more dangerous force.
Will Nick and Laurie be able to overcome their biggest challenge yet? Find out in Tony DiTerlizzi’s thrilling sequel, A Giant Problem.
About the Author
Tony DiTerlizzi is an accomplished children’s book author and illustrator with a career spanning two decades. His books range from delightful picture books such as The Broken Ornament and The Spider & The Fly, which was a Caldecott Honor book, to captivating chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, all of which are filled with vivid imagination.
Together with Holly Black, he wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles, a middle-grade series that has sold over 20 million copies, been adapted into a feature film, and translated into more than thirty languages. He also collaborated with Lucasfilm to create a picture book retelling of the original Star Wars trilogy, and with acclaimed author Mo Willems to create the best-selling book, The Story of Diva & Flea.
At the Norman Rockwell museum’s retrospective exhibition titled “Never Abandon Imagination”, DiTerlizzi’s artwork from his early days as a contributing artist for Dungeons & Dragons was featured and broke attendance records. He has been featured in various media outlets such as Time magazine, USA Today, CNN, PBS, NPR, the BBC, and The Today Show.
In “A Giant Problem,” Tony DiTerlizzi has crafted a delightful addition to the middle-grade fantasy genre. Known for his work on “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” DiTerlizzi displays his talent once again for inventing imaginative, vivid creatures and settings.
The story centers on the 11-year-old protagonist, Nick, who must journey into a magical underground world to save his father. Along the way, he partners with a giant named Snagglegrollop, who possesses a heart as big as his impressive physical stature.
Together, they navigate a richly detailed world populated by other mystical beings, including trolls and goblins. DiTerlizzi employs a light, engaging prose style that keeps the story chugging along at a brisk pace.
This is complemented by his charming illustrations, which capture the whimsical nature of the tale. Despite its fantastical setting, the story’s themes are grounded in relatable emotions like loss, fear, and friendship.
What separates “A Giant Problem” from other middle-grade fantasy novels is its emphasis on environmentalism. Throughout the story, Snagglegrollop’s race of giants is threatened by the encroaching modern world and its disregard for natural habitats.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, this theme is a timely and welcome addition to the genre. The book does have a few flaws, however.
The supporting cast of characters is underdeveloped, and some of their motivations are left unexplained. Additionally, the world-building can feel rushed at times, and certain plot points are resolved too easily.
Overall, “A Giant Problem” is a fun, entertaining story that will appeal to middle-grade readers, especially those with an interest in environmental issues. DiTerlizzi’s talent for invention and descriptive storytelling shines throughout the book, and his message about preserving the natural world is a welcome one.
I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.