THE LEGEND OF THE DREAM GIANTS, by Dustin Hansen, Shadow Mountain, March 8, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
An orphaned giant struggles to find friendship and a place he can call home in Dustin Hansen’s The Legend of the Dream Giants.
For many years, Berg has lived alone; the only reminders of his family are his mother’s satchel and his recurring dreams of a white bear who shares a magical sand from a fallen star.
Sometimes, when Berg feels lonely, he will risk entering a village to trade a smooth river rock or a feather for food. He’s really searching for kindness and companionship; but with every attempt he makes, people chase him away, thinking he is Ünhold—a giant and a monster.
In his travels, Berg comes upon a city made of iron, where he meets a little girl, Anya. To his amazement and delight, Anya knows about the magical dream-sand, too, and says she wants to be his friend.
The mayor also befriends Berg and enlists him to guard the city from the dangerous Ünhold. But Anya suspects the mayor has other plans for the young giant. Fearing the city isn’t safe, she warns Berg to flee. Confused and torn between his two friends, the young giant has to figure out where he can place his trust. —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
In The Legend of the Dream Giants, author Dustin Hansen combines grayscale drawings and text to create a story unlike any I’ve ever read. His emotive drawings serve as a story within a story, which seem separate from the text until Berg’s story progresses. And once you make the connection, Hansen’s motives become clear.
The Legend of the Dream Giants is an emotional fairytale about relationships — Berg and Anya, Berg and Ünhold, Berg and the villagers, Berg and his mother. And each relationship is fully realized. It’s a thoughtful and engrossing approach that you can’t walk away from.
The Legend of the Dream Giants is an excellent read that will appeal to middle readers of all backgrounds. But it will also appeal to older readers, especially those who like to contemplate. It would also work well in a classroom setting, with lots of room to dive off into different subjects and explorations.
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