Literature is full of different sizes of people doing different, fantastic things. And that’s our book theme of the week!

In the real world, it's unnatural to have tiny talking creatures or people who are 50 feet tall. On the other hand, these characters thrive in the world of literature and movies. They make our reading and movie watching experiences unforgettable.

In Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, 11-year-old James travels across the Atlantic Ocean and flies to New York City on a giant peach with gargantuan insects for company. Do you remember the movie, Honey I Blew Up the Kids? It’s difficult not to be hooked by the title, let alone the contents. Imagine, an entire town scourged by a giant baby!

Often, great and small creatures cross paths and help each other as they do in Dr Seuss’s popular children’s book Horton Hears a Who, where Horton the elephant tries to save the minuscule residents of Whoville, driving home the point that "A person's a person, no matter how small."

In Aesop's Fables, a small mouse saves the life of a mighty lion and in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Lemuel Gulliver is cared for by a farmer who is about 70 feet tall.

Does being short or tall really matter? Would the hobbits, Frodo and Samwise, have reached Mount Doom unseen by Dark Lord Sauron, had they been as big as humans? From the giant that tried to climb down Jack's beanstalk to the tiny smurfs, these legendary creatures have infused mystery, adventure, notoriety and heroism in literature just by their presence.

Size has catapulted some big and small literary characters to stardom. To these characters, their size poses great challenges not only to them but also to the people around them. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

1. Stuart Little

Species: Mouse

Gender: Male

Height: 2.5 inches

Follow the adventures of this little mouse and his human family in E.B. White’s book that was adapted into a film in 1999.

2. The Lilliputians

Species: Humanoid

Gender: Male and Female

Height: Approximately 6 inches

Shipwrecked, Gulliver finds himself in the land of Lilliput. He is imprisoned by a miniature race of people. Jonathan Swift's book, Gulliver's Travels, has been adapted numerous times onto the big screen.

3. Thumbelina

Species: Humanoid

Gender: Female

Height: No bigger than your thumb

Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina was adapted into an animated film in 1994.

4. Hagrid

Species: Half-Giant

Gender: Male

Height: Believed to be 11 feet 6 inches

Rubeus Hagrid features in the beloved Harry Potter series by J K Rowling. Robbie Coltrane plays the character on the big screen.

5. Shrek

Species: Ogre

Gender: Male

Height: Approximately 7 feet

The picture book Shrek! written and illustrated by William Steig, served as inspiration for the popular Shrek film.

Courtesy: Book Lovers Program for Schools (

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