We chose the book after we read it aloud around the Gecko Press meeting table and were mesmerised by Anna Höglund’s extraordinary language and compelling storytelling.

Julia Marshall, Publisher

The Stone Giant


The Stone Giant is a read-aloud storybook about cunning, courage and survival in which a girl sets out to save her father from the giant who turns everyone she meets to stone.

Written by Anna Höglund

Translated by Julia Marshall

Available as an ebook wherever you buy your ebooks


  • Description

    When her father leaves to save the people from a giant who turns them to stone with his gaze, the child in the red dress is left alone.
    Many days and many nights go by. Every evening the girl says good night to herself in her mirror. When the last light burns down, the girl takes her mirror and a knife and sets out to find her father.
    “I will save my father from the giant,” she says.
    The Stone Giant is a contemporary and timeless fairytale that tells of a child who succeeds where adults cannot.
    Based on a classic Swedish fairytale by Elsa Beskow, often called the Beatrix Potter of Scandinavia whose books have been read by Swedish children for over 100 years.

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 5-7 year, 6-8 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Book Trailers for Kids and YA

      This book is gorgeous from start to finish…I love everything about this book; the illustrations, the lyrical writing and the fable-like story, all delightfully packaged in this beautiful pint size book. Just gorgeous.

    2. I dream of all the books

      There was something magical and whimsical about this story…The story instils within the reader a sense of determination and pragmatism – the child’s father (a knight!) did not return, therefore, she must go and find him. This logic also gives the reader a sense of power, as the child is not deterred by distance and time in her own adventure. The illustrations were absolutely stunning. The grey tones and the pops of red skilfully emphasised certain aspects of the images in relation to the story.

    3. My Shelves are Full

      This is a compelling book to share aloud … Incredible illustrations create the atmosphere of danger and the bold red colour of the girls dress shows her outward courage! A new favourite for me!

    4. School Library Connection

      This small, precious feeling volume, with its embossed and gilded title, marble endpapers, and a cloth spine, is sure to be loved.

    5. The Sapling

      It really feels like a traditional story without being bogged down in old-fashioned language—presumably a factor of both the original Swedish writing and Julia Marshall’s capable and concise translation. And the fact that both the main character and the big bad villain are female is rather refreshing!…I’ve never been let down by the production of a Gecko title before, and they are certainly not slacking on this one. The paper is decadent and thick, the cloth spine, the shiny, almost reflective surface of the mirror on the back cover, the delicious swirling end papers that feel evocative of the marbling on turn-of-the-century book covers. I’ve told many a punter at Little Unity ‘you can’t go wrong with Gecko Press’ while brandishing one of their books at them, and The Stone Giant is no different. Sweet and strong in equal measure, and a little treasure to look at.

    6. Good Reading

      This is one of those lovely little books that you wish you had when you were a child…This is not only a book where every page is of great beauty but a very cunning story so simply told.

    7. Red Reading Hub

      There is SO much to love about this neo fairy story. The child’s bravery and determination; that the reader, like the child feels frissons of fear throughout; the slightly but not too scary, etched/ watercolour illustrations; the fact that magic doesn’t always have to be flashy – the quiet thoughtful approach shown here can work wonders; the joyful reunion that takes place, the excellent translation by Julia Marshall, and the beautiful production of the entire book.

    8. Picture Books Blogger

      a compelling contemporary read

    9. NZ Poetry Box, Paula Green

      What a delightful story housed in an exquisitely illustrated, lovingly produced object: The Stone Giant is a must-have book…The writing is simple – sweetly flowing – and it carries us like a little reading stream. You want to stay in the flow until the very end. The illustrations help build the mood – slightly scary, slightly anxious…The illustrations are gorgeous. So beautifully crafted – a mix of printing and watercolour. Full of mood and life and mystery. Glorious!

    10. Volume

      The Stone Giant is both beautiful and taut. It is fairy-tale telling reminiscent of Grimms’, but not too scary for little ones…Clever and quick thinking makes the child the hero of this story… Anna Höglund’s text is sparse and direct, creating a harmonic synergy with the illustrations which are delicate and subtle in their detail. They are expressive and have layers of depth, with her use of black and small petals of colour, not often seen in children’s books.

    11. INIS Magazine

      This masterful retelling of a classic Swedish fairy tale by Elsa Beskow would make a gorgeous addition to any bookshelf. With compelling language and amazing illustrations, Anna Höglund has proven that a well-told story really is timeless. The tale is a simple one; however, the magic of the story lies in the illustrations. Each page is a work of art.

    12. Read it, Daddy!

      a fantastically dark little tale, not too scary for little ones but definitely one that evokes memories of classic Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson tales…with illustrations packed with detail and a timeless charm…filled with originality and thrills.

    13. Bookwitch

      Literature is full of clever little girls and stupid monsters. The Stone Giant by Anna Höglund, and translated by Julia Marshall, is one example.

    14. Kids Lit Life

      I found the story line tight and fast paced, with no superfluous words or events. There is a hint of sarcasm, which I appreciate in a children’s book. The primarily black and white pencil illustrations are simple and almost dreamlike. I love the message it conveys that girls are brave, strong, witty, and can rescue their fathers. Big Kid told me her favorite part was when the girl and her father were together again at the end. She also liked that this book was more the size, and had the feel of a chapter book even though there were illustrations on every page.

    15. Kirkus Reviews

      Höglund, a contemporary Swedish children’s-book creator, points to a story by legendary author/illustrator Elsa Beskow as this book’s inspiration. Translated from Swedish, the third-person text, always printed on verso and surrounded by generous white space, is brief yet specific, prompting ponderous pauses throughout. True to fairy-tale tradition, everyday objects possess the key to salvation. However, in a contemporary twist, it is not an adult or knight in shining armor but the child who does the rescuing, not through beauty or kindness but with fortitude and determination.

  • Reviews

    1. Barbara (goodreads)

      The tale is told with a light touch, leaving readers enraptured, and the softly-colored images, surrounded by white space, complement it well. This one doesn’t take long to read but will linger in reader’s minds for some time.

    2. Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

      This lovely little gem of a book reads like a fairy tale. A little girl lives on a small island with her father, a knight. He goes off in pursuit of a dangerous giant that he reads about in the newspaper. His daughter is left alone to worry. When he doesn’t return, she goes on a quest looking for him. She finds the creature and saves the day with a solution out of Greek mythology. The brief text nonetheless paints a believable picture of a hapless dad who is lucky to have a wise, intrepid daughter. The tone is gently humorous, especially as the reader sees the knight reading the newspaper, with his legs stretched out under the kitchen table. The illustrations are etchings with watercolor, and they simply and elegantly convey the story.

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