32 pages, published 2007
In the 1870s, a circus giant named Captain Martin Van Buren Bates left the circus and set off to find a town where he and his wife (also a circus giant) could live in peace. Captain Bates happened on Seville, Ohio, a sleepy little town that charmed him from the moment he arrived and welcomed him with open arms.
This book is based on a true story set in a town not far from here. I met the author/illustrator at the Ohio Book Festival and while I was having him sign my book to Gage a few women came up and started talking about how their parents would tell them this story when they we young and even point out the giant’s house as they drove by. They seemed to agree that the house was no longer standing today. If you are interested in the real giant you can read more on Wikipedia for details or teaching supports check here.
Martin grew to be 7″11′ and 525 pounds and his wife, from what I found, was even taller. When they decided to retire from the circus, Martin took the train (a big fave with Gage) to find a new home for the super-sized couple and he found a welcoming town in northern Ohio. I loved this story about the man who did not fit social norms but was accepted anyway. The illustrations and quality of the book are top-notch. Some of the language might be challenging for younger kids but I think that’s a good thing. This is a great tall tale from a small town in my great state 🙂
So, this weekend I started doing some mini-lessons on the 50 States with Gage. Ohio was first so we focused on this book, but I’m looking for recommendations for my near future states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virgina). Let me know!
Booking Mama hosts Kid Konnection every Saturday if you are interested in checking out other posts about kids books.