Children’s book giveaway! Tomie dePaola’s CHRISTOPHER THE HOLY GIANT and THE LITTLE FRIAR WHO FLEW

Couple of things! First, Ignatius is having a 30% off sale on children’s books. Just about every book for kids is on sale until Sunday, March 26 at 11:59 PM Pacific. They have so many lovely titles, including many re-issues by Tomie dePaola. (I reviewed some others here.)

Second, today I have two more books to give away! Two more wonderful Tomie dePaola books, both great picks for Easter. And weirdly enough, they ended up being two books about two very different models of masculinity (or maybe that’s just where my head is at right now). 


It’s a cheery, attractive, colorful book full of details, animals, flowers and fanciful historical costumes, and makes a good introduction to the life of Joseph of Cupertino, the simple-minded, accident-prone boy who experiences the joy of God so directly, he levitates.

The story has a gentle arc and ends quietly with Joseph escaping fame and returning to his solitary life in the hills.

The text is by Patricia Lee Gauch and illustrated by dePaola in 1980, in a style that’s a little more line-heavy and busy and maybe more comic-like, less elegant and delicate than the style we may associate with dePaola.

Not a bad thing, just worth noting.

Incidentally, last night we watched The Reluctant Saint (1962) about Joseph of Cupertino and we all liked it. I’ll try and do a full review later this week, but it was entertaining and well-realized and although it was certainly dated, it had some very moving scenes and extremely appealing characters. 

Next book! 

CHRISTOPHER THE HOLY GIANT, written and illustrated by  dePaola. This one was first published in 1994, and it is my favorite dePaola era. 

What a story! This is very much what I mean by a myth: Something that’s not perhaps intended to be taken as a literal historical account, but is crafted to convey things that are true and important about humans, about the world, and about God.

It’s told very simply, without embellishment, and lets the glowing, icon-like illustrations wallop you. 

There are two pages with no text

And it ends with Jesus telling him everything he needs to know, and Christopher listens, and the very next day his actions bear fruit. What do you know about that. 

What a book! Can we have this as recommended reading for high school kids? For seminarians? 

Uh, I don’t mean to be a weirdo, but Christopher actually kind of looks like the sigma male or gigachad meme guy, ultra-muscular, ultra-masculine lone wolf who does what he wants and follows his own set of very simple rules.

I feel like a lot of dudes I’ve encountered have been reduced to Reprobus [Christopher’s name before he meets Jesus] level-grasp of cultural and spiritual norms. They know they are strong, and they are just looking for someone even stronger to follow, the end. What to do? 

Not that there is any kind of pop cultural subtext in this book, or anything! I just thought it’s an especially poignant parable for 2023. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy this for your little kids but leave it around for your teenage boys to read. (I’m a big believer in leaving books lying around where they may be idly picked up, like outside the bathroom or in the car, or on the table when dinner is almost ready.) 

Anyway, both books, in their own way, are about being the person God made you to be, and using the strengths you have been given for their proper ends. Good stuff, good stories. 


And now the giveaway! To enter to win both books courtesy of Ignatius, just leave a comment on this site and I’ll use a random number generator to pick and notify a winner on Sunday afternoon. (That will give you a chance to still purchase them at 30% off if you don’t win.) Good luck! 

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86 thoughts on “Children’s book giveaway! Tomie dePaola’s CHRISTOPHER THE HOLY GIANT and THE LITTLE FRIAR WHO FLEW”

  1. Did I make the Sunday cutoff?? I’d love these. And I’d love to read one to a Christopher I know who still is sad about his namesakes revoked sainthood status. These look beautiful.

  2. We love Tomie de Paola! My kids would be thrilled to add these books to our collection.

  3. I don’t have any of DePaola’s books, but I remember Strega Nona from childhood, and would love to start building a library for our new baby 🙂

  4. My children love Tomie DePaola’s books so much! May you have a blessed Easter season!

  5. I daresay these will only be for folks in the US, but I’d love to win them if you’re posting to Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿👍

  6. I love your advice about leaving books lying around for someone to pick up and read!

  7. Both of these look great, and I love your ‘weird’reviews. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Just in time for the Tomie de Paola stamps! I recently got my hands on a copy of his Nativity pop up book, which happily joined my ex-library copy of Mary the Mother of God. Thank you for the giveaway! Either would be a lovely addition to our shelf — and I’ve never read either!

  9. I love Tomie DePaola’s stuff so very much. I’m so happy these books are getting a reprint. My husband is a Christopher, and I’ve read the library’s copy of that book to my kids on his feast day. I think that one and “Clown of God” are my favorites.

  10. I’m a fan of dePaola. Some of our most raggedy, well-loved picture books are his. (Charlie needs a clock and The Cloud book.) I bought the Petook book on your recommendation and just found his pictures so simple but rich.

  11. Thank you, I’m going to go check out the sale! I’ve thinking about getting some de Paola for my toddler’s library for a while now, I guess today’s the day!

  12. Such a beautiful book and a treasured author. I would love this for my 5 year old son.

  13. I’ve never heard of either, although I love TdP and have several of his books. How cool!

  14. Thank you for the chance to win!
    Tomie dePaola is my favorite artist and I e always loved his religious books. Did you ever go see him? We were able to a few times in Concord. Such a humble and joyful spirit!

  15. We love The Little Friar Who Flew; thanks for letting us know about the sale — I just ordered some great books in time for Easter baskets!

  16. I love Tomie DePaola, but I’ve never read — or even heard of — these! They sound lovely. Thanks for the review.

  17. Tomie dePaola is the best. My niece and nephew have already received some of his books from me, and I’m sure they would be happy to acquire some more. Thanks for the recommendations.

  18. I too subscribe to the “accidentally” leaving books here and there method of getting my kids to read more.

  19. My children and I have always loved Tomie dePaola. We weren’t familiar with these titles. These would be great for my littles’ Easter baskets.

  20. I have not seen these books before. ‘The Clown of God’ still makes me tear up!

  21. A very thought provoking review. Thank you.

    Good books can be so very powerful. It’s only a couple years ago I realized that Rummer Godden’s St Jerome and the Lion played a distant but real role in my conversion to Catholicism…

  22. My 7yo has declared that Tomie is definitely in her list of top five authors of all time… And I agree! What a gem.

  23. I want to win because I don’t have these two books. And I would like to share them with my grandchildren.

    1. Oh I would love to win this! 😍 I have spent a small fortune on Tomie DePaola books, because my children are going to be literate, dangit, and beautiful books and good stories are my hope! But we do not have these stories!
      While you have an in, can you talk to Ignatius Press about getting the rights for Tomie’s book on Our Lady of Guadalupe? My children need to know about Our Lady who is patron of the Americas, but I cannot afford $50 for a children’s book 😂😭

  24. Loved your reviews! Trying to build up our Tomie dePaola collection in our home 🙂

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