Ogres in folk and fairy tales go by many names: troll, giant, zim, raksasa—on and on. Every culture has stories about big bullying brutes who threaten ordinary people. Through folktales, storytellers have passed along accumulated wisdom about this character type.
Take "Jack and the Beanstalk," for example. The giant lives in the clouds, high above everyone else. He hoards gold. He shouts nonsense ("Fee, fi, fo, fum!). He threatens ("I'll grind your bones to make my bread"). He might seem invincible. But wait! Storytellers encourage listeners (especially children) to think like Jack, to use their skills and their wits. Jack is nimble and quick. The giant is slow and bumbling. Jack's ace-in-the-hole is that the giant's wife is on Jack's side, right from the beginning. She sympathizes with her husband's victims—she is one of them. Perhaps some day storytellers will tell tales of the donald.
I am a children's book author and folklorist based in Portland, Oregon.
Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote 'The Cat in the Hat"
Random House, 2018. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
*Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus.
The Great Dictionary Caper, illustrated by Eric Comstock (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster)
On sale January 23, 2018. **Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. Winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.