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The Giant of Seville: A "Tall" Tale Based on a True Story Hardcover – March 1, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 4—Nothing ever happens in sleepy little Seville, OH. Nothing, that is, until 7 feet, 11½ inches tall Martin Van Buren Bates comes to town. A retired circus performer, he is looking for a quiet place to settle down with his wife, who is "every inch" as tall as he is. The inhabitants of Seville go to great lengths (heights!) to make the stranger feel welcome: when Bates opens a window so that he can put his feet out and sleep comfortably, the boardinghouse proprietor tends a fire underneath to keep his toes warm through the night. The next morning, she enlists the aid of other ladies in preparing his breakfast, where five frying pans work at once to make enough johnnycakes to satisfy his appetite. The language is appropriately old-fashioned—the giant wears a "stovepipe hat the size of a pickle barrel!" The storytelling style and appealing subject matter make this book an excellent choice for reading aloud. The decorative borders, use of cross-hatching, and muted colors give the illustrations the look of old colored etchings. The book is well designed, with thick, creamy paper, a distinctive circus font for the title and headings, nice use of white space, and a suitably tall format. Altogether, it's a standout package.—Robin L. Gibson, Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Seville, Ohio, is so quiet that you can "hear the corn grow" until a giant comes to town. Nearly eight feet tall, Captain Martin Van Buren is searching for a friendly community in which to settle down. Seville's residents welcome him, but accommodating a guest of his stature proves difficult. He is too big for the beds at the inn, he needs skyscrapers of flapjacks for breakfast, and he crashes through parlor floors. "I'm too tall for Seville," he says. The determined townspeople, however, work together to build a home large enough for the giant and his equally statuesque wife. An endnote introduces the historical people and events that inspired the story, and Andreasen extends the tale's old-fashioned feel in detailed, color-washed ink drawings of townspeople in nineteenth-century dress. The true "tall" tale, as the subtitle's pun notes, features a well-paced text filled with exaggerated, folksy descriptions (a stovepipe hat "as big as a pickle barrel!") that will make for a lighthearted, satisfying read-aloud. Suggest this also for discussions about cooperation and accepting diversity. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081090988X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810909885
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Seville, Ohio was one of those quiet towns where nothing ever, ever exiting happened, but one day when the noon train pulled in there was someone very interesting on it. The man was so big that when he leaned out a window he almost reached to the sky with his stovepipe hat. Of course the only way he could ride was to "sit sideways on the seat with his head sticking out of the window." People soon found out that this giant was Captain Martin Van Buren Bates, known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." He was a circus giant looking for a place to live with his wife, but he had to find just the right place for them because they were so BIG.

He stayed at Mrs. Crawley's boardinghouse where she welcomed him with open arms. The "open" had to be extended to the window of his room because he had to stick his feet 'n toes out so he wouldn't be all cramped up in his "king-size bed." Martin's appetite was as big as his bed. He loved pancakes and the ladies of the town "mixed four gallons of cake batter and had five frying pans going at once." He was beginning to feel very welcome, but at the square dance that evening ... well, let's say he kind of wrecked the floor. After that fiasco would Seville, Ohio be the kind of town he'd want to take his wife to?

This charming tall tale brought a smile to my lips and I fell in love with not only Captain Martin Van Buren Bates, but also Mrs. Crawley and the entire town of Seville. The art work meshed perfectly with this story and made Martin into a likable, lovable man and not a buffoon. In the back of the book there is a real picture of Martin and his wife Anna and a brief biography of the two of them, "Seville's most famous residents." There are a lot of different people in this world, but there is a place for everyone, isn't there?
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Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by Eric Zeda (age 8) for Reader Views (5/07)

This story is about Martin the Giant, who was looking for a place to live. He arrived at a town called Seville. When he got to town a crowd of people came to him. He stayed at a boardinghouse and was treated nicely. The problem was that he was too big for the bed and the house. One day, he went to a square dance and broke the floor. He felt sad and said "put it on my tab." He thought people weren't going to like him and he decided to leave town, but the people surprised him and made a giant-sized house. He called his wife and they moved to the town.

I loved the part when Martin ate a lot of pancakes. I learned that being different is okay. You don't have to be the same to get along. I think kids should read "The Giant of Seville."

Reviewed by Samuel Peralta (age 6) for Reader Views (5/07)

This "Tall Tale" is based on a true story. Measuring seven-feet, eleven-and-a-half-inches, "Martin the Giant" arrives in the town of Seville, Ohio looking for a home. He is concerned that he is too big for the town. He spends some time at a local boardinghouse and is befriended by Mrs. Crawley. During his stay Martin the Giant discovers that friendships are worth more than materialistic assets. He learns that he has made true friends that accept and love him for who he is.

My son Sammy is six. He was happy to see that the people from town built Martin the Giant a house. He thought it was "cool that the house had doorways that were eight feet tall." He would recommend this book to his friends.

Parent's Note: This is a good book when you need to talk to your children about being different or accepting others who are different. I enjoyed the author's note. Sammy was really impressed when he found out Ms. Van Buren measured eight feet tall.

Book received free of charge
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Format: Hardcover
Capt. Bates is, as I mentioned, related to me. He was a man who wore many hats in his life: He was a farmer, a war hero, a circus phenomenon and... yes.. a giant. He was a gentle soul who cared very much about people but was also a very brave man who was tough as nails.

It's great to find a book that captures the spirit of this formidable and respectable man.

Nice work, Mr. Andreasen! :-)
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book about my great great great great uncle which I just discovered. It is a humerous tale of his life. I just love it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book was in great condition. Just opened a store in Seville. Wanted a copy for our guest to read. Yeah!
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