The Giants and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson

Jumbeelia the young giantess loves to hear the old story about the iggly plop who climbed up the bimplestonk to the giants’ land of Groil. Then, one day, she throws a bimple over the edge of Groil.

Down, down, down Jumbeelia climbs—right down into the land of the iggly plops, where she discovers Colette, Poppy, and Stephen Jones; puts them into her canvas bag; and carries them back to Groil.

Soon the children find themselves shut in her dollhouse, with no visible means of escape. With danger surrounding them at every turn, the children must use all their wits to survive and figure out a way to get back home.

Genre: family, adventure, fairytale

Themes: adventures, communication, moral, funny

Age: 6+

The Giants and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson​ book cover


1. When Jumbeelia climbs down to the world of iggly plops she finds many things that are strange and exciting to her. Ask pupils to write a postcard to a giant from another world to describe what our world is like. What are the best things to tell them? What about these items makes them great? Can they include lots of descriptive words to help the giant’s imagination?

2. Pupils can grow their very own mini bean stalk. Using clear plastic cups, cotton wool or compost, paper straws, twist ties and beans (seed packet), pupils can plant their own beanstalk and watch them grow! How often will they water them? Where should they place the bean to grow and why? How will they check if the bean is growing? (CC: STEM, Biology)

3. The giants have their own language which can be decoded using the dictionary in the back. Can pupils use the Groilish dictionary to write a note to the giants? Can they use this language to send a message to a friend in the class for them to decode? Can pupils create their very own class language?

4. Storyboard activity. In the first column ask pupils to recall the main parts of the story into 5 main parts. Then as a class use the second column to think of a class adaptation of the story – what will they change and why? The third column can be used for a pair or individual adaptation of the story. How can they use their imagination to create their own similar story? (Use ‘Storyboard activity’ resource)

5. Jumbeelia and Zab don’t always take the best care of Colette, Steven and baby Poppy. Can pupils in groups create a mind map to think about what people need in their life to be well taken care of? What physical things can they think of? Can pupils think of non-physical things we need to feel cared for? (CC: PSHE)

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