Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Children’s Poetry Library
Poetry (Children's/YA)
Trim Size
178 x 110mm

In the Land of the Giants


Winner of the CLPE Poetry Award

George Szirtes’ children’s poems comprise riddles, mysteries and parables, strange encounters, cautionary tales, and meditations on just about everything under the sun — from the sea’s hands to the wind’s face. All Szirtes’ technical virtuosity is on display, the music, rhyme and cadence fusing together with an Eastern European sensibility to provide a unique collection that will be treasured by all children and not a few adults.

This generous new selection displays wit and warm good humour with a hint of the absurd.

Also included are a series of translations of children’s poems from Hungary including works by Sándor Weöres and Zoltán Zelk.

Praise for this Book

‘This is a very dangerous book: it plays with words, with fire, with water, with animals – with anything and everything: even refrigerators and ice-creams. After I read it, the world wasn't the same again. If you read it, you won't be either.’ —Michael Rosen

Reviews of this Book

‘'No primary-school teacher who reads poetry to children should be without George Szirtes’s The Red-All-Over Riddle Book.’ —Sarah Johnson

In the Land of Giants is a wonderful book. Buy a copy and see for yourselves. Or just browse through one and then see if you can resist buying it. George’s reading at the launch had both children and adults spellbound. Those of you who know him, or have heard him at readings, or even just met him briefly will be unable to read these poems without hearing his distinctive and mesmerizing voice somewhere deep inside your ear.’ —Hilary Mellon

‘The subject matter ranges widely; some are fantastic for younger children, some are probably more to be appreciated by parents. There is also a selection of translations from the Hungarian, by Ottó Orbán and Zoltán Zelk, among others. I loved 'The Lost Sock Mystery', which references MI5 and which by a happy coincidence I first read online while rolling socks and watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Alec Guinness.’ —The Stone and the Star

‘To my mind, he is the very best of poets for children (and adults, for that matter). Never showy or superior, equally comfortable with or without rhyme, and showing us the mystery, wonder and humour of the world with clarity and elegance. He observes and transforms, beginning with the everyday and ending somewhere else, inviting us into the poems, showing us what we thought we knew and revealing that we knew more than we thought. In this collection, there are over sixty poems to enjoy and share. Don’t miss it.’ —Books for Keeps

‘The collection begins with poems that play with the English language and ends with poems translated from the Hungarian. The centrepiece is a series of poems focusing on a variety of characters, several of whom feel small and insignificant in a big world – the land of the giants.’ —Eastern Daily Press

‘This engaging collection of poems and verses is best fitted for the younger end of the 8 to 12 age-group. The best of them take a quirky, sidelong, witty look at the worlds, expanding on a child’s observation, for example the noises that a fridge makes as it digests our offerings.’ —Peter Hollindale