"When Anna Swan came into the world, people chattered. They whispered over tea and gossiped across fences. Because even when she was small, Anna was...tall."
This picture book is the story of Anna Swan, a real-life giantess, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1849 and went on to become part of PT Barnum's Gallery of Wonders. Anna weighed 6kg when she was born and by the age of six she was taller than her mother and could see eye to eye with her father. At seventeen, she reached her full adult height of 2.4 meters tall. She was called "the Infant Giantess", and people travelled great distances just to see her. She felt out of place and awkward except when she was outdoors, or around the other unusual people living in Barnum's museum. Eventually, she married another giant, a man almost as tall as her, and they settled in a house that was built to accommodate both them and their smaller guests.
The True Tale of a Giantess is beautifully illustrated by Marie Lafrance, with coloured drawings full of intricate details like the patterns on the wallpaper and Anna's dresses. The text tells an inspiring tale of a girl who just wanted somewhere she could fit in.
While it isn't really to do with the book, I was reminded of the line from Kimya Dawson's song I Like Giants:
"She said 'I like giants
Especially girl giants
Cause all girls feel too big sometimes
Regardless of their size"
Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Kids Can Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Published: September 4, 2018