A first, and welcome, encounter with Gecko Press and the work of Swedish writer/illustrator Anna Höglund. The Stone Giant is a story of girlhood bravery, of facing down monsters, of facing down fears.

Dear bookmakers, marbling the pastedowns and endpapers of a book is never, NEVER the wrong thing to do.

This is the page that hooked me! This girl, she doesn’t run and hide in a closet, she doesn’t curl up and cry, she FIXES EVERYTHING THAT’S BROKEN. That’s the first thing she does in the face of uncertainty and fear. Then she turns to the sea. Is it just me, or is there something so important, something so extraordinary, about that act???

Look at the way Höglund ever-so-gently renders the girl in the darkness, almost indistinguishable from the darkness itself.

Want a formula for terrifying? Hairy body with pale, hairless clown face, red lips. The end.

The mirror is such a great trope here: nothing to fear but fear itself.

Let’s just take this in for a second: because of the girl, the landscape comes to life again, the rocks and boulders become people again, the father lives again. I have a feeling—I have a deep, deep feeling—there’s more truth here than maybe even Höglund realizes. Or maybe she does.

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