Review By JENNIFER GANNETT
Lottavim and Normus are twin brothers who also happen to be giants. They are closely bonded best friends who do everything together but there is one difference between them: Lottavim likes meat and Normus is a vegetarian. This difference is woven throughout the telling of their story in The Twin Giants.
Dick King-Smith, the author of many children’s books (including the one upon which the movie “Babe” is based) tells a good old-fashioned rambling tale in The Twin Giants. The bulk of this short chapter book focuses on Lot and Norm’s search for suitable wives. They visit various regional mountains looking for women to marry, and their eating habits come into play in this quest. Eventually, they luck into a pair of gorgeous twin giantesses who have no conflicting food-related requirements and everyone lives happily ever after.
The illustrations in this story are very engaging and there is a humorous tone to the tale that definitely appeals.
This story isn’t for everyone, however, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the boys are orphaned at a young age (giants don’t live long, the reader is informed). Vegan parents may want to know that Normus is fond of milk, eggs and honey. Additionally, these fellows are the kind of old school giants who don’t take the townsfolk into consideration while plundering their fields and markets or making threatening noises (though to be fair, this often happens by accident).
Though Normus’s vegetarianism is front and center, it seems like his choice is sometimes considered more of a hurdle than an embraced quality. (Anyone else been there and done that? Is art imitating your life?) While his choice is noted, there is no real discussion of the rationale.
This story exhibits a lot of acceptance around difference choices. Just as the characters honor Norm’s choice to be a vegetarian, so he too honors the choices of the omnivores around him without trying to sway them to the veggie side of things. This book is definitely one for parents to peruse through to determine whether or not it fits into their lives. Some of you might not appreciate the meatiness of the story, others of you just may be in the mood to read your kiddos a silly tale about giant twin brothers.
Ages 5 and up.