A Giant Crush

Common Sense Media says

Fun Valentine story stresses self-esteem, friendship.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Portrays the classroom ritual of making or bringing in valentines to give out to classmates. 

Positive messages

Jackson fears that Cami will never be interested in him because he's a "giant," but his friend Cooper encourages him not to give up and urges him to tell Cami how he feels. 

Positive role models

Cooper is a great friend to Jackson, helping to build his confidence and keep his hopes up. Jackson, despite is anxiety, stays true to himself and never gives up, even when things look hopeless. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Valentines Day-themed book isn't just about a boy's crush on a girl, but is also about a young boy (bunny) feeling self-conscious about his appearance and getting support and encouragement from a friend. The broader themes of friendship and self-esteem give A Giant Crush life after Valentine's Day. 

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What's the story?

A very tall bunny, who is self-conscious about his height and his crush on a girl bunny named Cami, fears she will never be interested in him because he's a \"giant.\" And he figures she likes Carter, because the kids on the playground are singing \"Carter and Cami, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.\" Still, he secretly prepares a Valentine's Day surprise for her, and with is friend Cooper's encouragement, he finally steps up when she asks if anyone wants to play soccer at recess.

Is it any good?


This charming picture book rings true to grade-school-level romance and the politics of recess. Melissa Sweet's mixed-media illustrations show the range of emotions from playfulness and excitement to trepidation and embarrassment. And Choldenko goes beyond the obvious holiday theme to create a meaningful story of supportive friendship between two guys, and the innocent joys of puppy love. (Well, bunny love in this case.) 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it feels like to have a crush on someone. Parents might want to tell kids about their first loves in grade school. 

  • Families can also talk about what it's like to feel self-conscious about your appearance. Even the kids everyone else thinks are good looking probably have something they don't like about themselves -- their height, their hair, their ears ... How does Cooper help Jackson get over feeling self-conscious about being so tall? 

Book details

Author:Gennifer Choldenko
Illustrator:Melissa Sweet
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Friendship, Holidays
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Putnam Juvenile
Publication date:December 22, 2011
Number of pages:320
Publisher's recommended age(s):5 - 9
Read aloud:5 - 9
Read alone:6 - 9

This review of A Giant Crush was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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