Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

A Tall Tale about Giants... and Libraries

November 25, 2020 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 40
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Giants... and Libraries
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Giants... and Libraries
Nov 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 40
R.A. Spratt

When Tammy and Mum take the dog for a walk the renovations at their local library lead to a discussion about the importance of building accessibility for the improvement of giant literacy.

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Show Notes Transcript

When Tammy and Mum take the dog for a walk the renovations at their local library lead to a discussion about the importance of building accessibility for the improvement of giant literacy.

Support the show (

Hello and welcome to Bedtime stories with me, R.A. Spratt.


Here we go…


A tall take of giants… and libraries.


Mum and Tammy were taking the dog for a walk. Tammy was sick. But it was such a beautiful spring day. It would have been a crime to stay inside. It would have been cruel to the dog. So Mum announced they were just going to walk along the path and back.


Tammy was of course in a bad mood. She was normally in a bad mood. But especially when she was sick and people said she couldn’t do things. 


‘Would you like to visit the gelato boy?’ asked Mum. ‘We could have an ice cream.’

‘No,’ said Tammy.

Of course she did want an ice cream. But Tammy knew that Mum loved gelato and it was her favourite treat. And Tammy wanted to punish Mum.

‘Really?’ asked Mum. Mum knew that Tammy knew, it was her favourite treat and was punishing her. She briefly considered throwing a tantrum. But it was such a beautiful day and Mum was 45 years old, and it was a small town so someone she knew was sure to see so she decided not to. They kept walking.

‘It’s Saturday,’ said Tammy sulkily. ‘Normally you take me to the Chelsea Bakery on Saturday.’

‘Urgh,’ said Mum. ‘But then I’d have to get in the car and drive and I don’t want to. It’s a beautiful day. We came out to walk.’

‘Fine,’ said Tammy. 

Tammy said ‘Fine’ to everything. With Tammy the word ‘fine’ mean any number of things – ‘I’m going to murder you in your sleep’, ‘I hate every particle of your being,’ ‘I will remember this moment for the rest of my life and never forgive you.’ But it never ever meant ‘fine’.

She stomped on ahead. This was another way she punished Mum by walking three metres ahead of her and swinging a stick about dangerously.

‘It’s the markets today,’ said Mum. ‘We could go there and get a pastry. You know from the French man, with the accent.’

Tammy froze. ‘And home-made lemonade from the girl by the boat?’

‘Sure,’ said Mum.

Tammy turned and started to walk towards the centre of town.

‘So long as you promise to be nice to me,’ said Mum. ‘If you’re going to make me buy you treats. You have to be nice to me.’

Tammy glowered, ‘Fine.’

It is hard to stay angry when the sky is a clear bright blue, the sun is shining and there is just the smallest cool breeze to stop you getting too hot. All the spring roses were in bloom. And Tammy was only 9 so she didn’t have the concentration to keep up her rage for long, especially when there was absolutely no rational, or irrational, reason for her to be angry in the first place.

By the time they were another one hundred metres down the road Tammy had forgotten to be angry and was joining Mum in wondering what sort of person thought it was a good idea to paint their house grey. Or what if that person who put out the bowl of water for passing dogs but poison in it because they secretly hated dogs. Or what if that garden gnome wasn’t really a garden gnome. It was the father-in-law of the woman who lived in the house and she had cursed him to be a concrete garden gnome for all eternity because he was so grumpy and he kept putting his feet on the coffee table.

Tammy was getting quite hungry now, so Mum suggested they cut through the library courtyard to get to the markets. They walked up the back lane past the carpark.

‘What is that?’ asked Tammy pointing to a pointed roof up ahead of them, they could see it over the top of the council carpark.

‘It looks like an alien space ship,’ said Tammy. ‘Or a pyramid.’

‘It looks like the glass pyramid in the centre of the Louvre in Paris,’ said Mum.

‘Yes!’ said Tammy. ‘Why are they building that here?’

‘Perhaps they’re going to build the world’s second greatest art gallery right here in our town,’ said Mum.

‘Really?’ said Tammy.

‘Well, perhaps not,’ agreed Mum.

As they reached the end of the lane there was a lot of temporary fencing, around some building works.

‘Oh dear,’ said Mum. ‘Perhaps we can’t get through this way.’

‘Yes we can,’ said Tammy spotting a gap in the fencing. ‘Over there.’

Mum, Tammy and the dog wove their way around the outside of the building site.  

‘There it is!’ said Tammy.

They saw the pyramid construction now. It wasn’t really a pyramid. Now they were closer they could see that the pyramid part was built on the top of tall pillars. It was just a portico in front of the entrance of the library.

Mum, Tammy and the dog all stopped and looked at it.

‘What are they building that for?’ asked Tammy. ‘And why are they building it so tall?’

‘Oooh,’ said Mum nodding her head knowledgbly. ‘I’ve seen this sort of thing before.’ Mum visited a lot of libraries as part of her work. ‘Libaries are an important service provided by the council. They need to be accessible to everybody in the community. So they’re building the roof extra high to make it accessible for giants.’

‘Really?’ said Tammy.

‘Oh yes,’ said Mum. ‘Giants are a terribly marginalized community. No one ever thinks of them when they are designing buildings. And as a result, tragically, giants are forever banging their heads on door frames and ceilings. Which is why they are constantly in such a bad mood, and threatening to eat people and crush their bones. It’s because they have headaches.’

‘Headaches?’ said Tammy.

‘You get headaches,’ said Mum. ‘And it makes you in a bad mood. Imagine how bad a headache you’d have if every time you walked into or out of a building you banged your head on a doorframe. You’d be very grumpy indeed.’

‘I’ve never seen a giant,’ said Tammy.

‘Of course not,’ said Mum. ‘Because you’ve never seen a giant accessible building before. But now that the council are building one, the giants are sure to flock here.’

‘To the library,’ said Tammy.

‘Oh yes,’ said Mum. ‘Giants are great readers.’

‘They are?’ said Tammy.

‘The only problem is,’ said Mum. ‘That they are so giant. And the books are so small, that they find it very hard to turn the pages. So they need someone to help them. So when someone as forward thinking as our own local council does build them an accessible library, they rush in, snatch up the books, but then they need someone to turn the pages for them, so they run around the library trying to find someone.’

‘Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of someone with an opposable thumb,’ they say.

‘The children would of course run away screaming. It’s the only sensible thing to do when an enormous terrifying monster lumbers towards you. Then they would all get in terrible trouble with the librarian for making too much noise and have their library cards cut up in their faces as punishment.’

‘Do librarians actually do that?’ asked Tammy.

‘They do in my imagination,’ said Mum.

‘A lot of things happen in your imagination that do not happen in real life,’ said Tammy.

‘Then the giants and the small children are left outside. Sitting in the gutter. Doomed to becoming illiterate. Which is why so few giants and small children hold jobs as university professors and international best-selling authors.

‘You’re an international best selling authoer,’ said Tammy. ‘It can’t be that hard.’

‘Luckily I was never attacked by a giant in a library,’ said Mum. ‘But only because my library was deeply prejudiced. Their doorframes were standard height. I’m ashamed of my own privelege that I never realised the systemic anti-giantism I was tacitly supporting.’

‘And that’s why our library is putting up a really high pergola,’ said Tammy ‘to support the literacy of giants.’

‘We should be proud to live in such an enlightened age,’ said Mum. ‘I just hope they’ve also planned to provide children with small dexterous fingers as page turners.’

‘What child would agree to that,’ said Tammy. ‘Children are busy people. They need to go to school.’

‘Oh yes,’ agreed Mum. ‘Parents are very insistent that children go to school. Which is why the head librarian would have to catch wild children, perhaps with large nets, then chain them to the walls of the library.’

‘But that would be wrong and cruel,’ said Tammy.

‘Only for the children,’ said Mum. ‘It would be wonderful for the giants. The children could fix their glasses when the screw fell out and sew buttons back on for them as well. All the things that it is much easier for small children to do. The library could even lend out the small children, like they do books, so giants could take them home and shove them up their chimineys to give them a good clean. Small children make the best chimney sweeps.’

‘The police would never allow it,’ said Tammy.

‘The police would be too afraid to interfere,’ said Mum.

‘Why?’ asked Tammy.

‘Because of the librarians,’ said Mum. ‘Police are terrified of librarians.’

‘Why would a police officer be afraid of a librarian?’ asked Tammy.

‘Well,’ said Mum. ‘Think about it. Police force people to do what they want by threatening them with guns and tasers and batons. Librarians get people to do what they want just by saying ‘shhhhh’. They’re much more scary.’

Tammy eyed the pergola warily. ‘You’re being ridiculous,’ said Tammy.

‘Perhaps,’ said Mum. ‘Or perhaps I’m being brilliantly insightful.’

Tammy looked at Mum. She was wearing her purple crocs, with socks, and a t-shirt that said ‘I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.’ 

‘Ridiculous,’ said Tammy. She stalked off,  calling back over her shoulder, ‘You promised me lemonade.’

‘Only if you were nice,’ Mum reminded her.

Tammy grunted.

‘I know that grunt means I love you mum,’ said Mum.

Tammy did not want to say what the grunt really meant because it was a hot day and she really wanted that lemonade. She just grunted again.

‘I love you too,’ said Mum.


The end.


Thank you for listening. To support this podcast just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There are plenty to choose from across the Nanny Piggins, Friday Barnes and Peski Kids series and now the audiobook of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins. You can order them through your local bookstore, or go to my website and click on the Book Depository banner. They have all my titles and free international shipping. That’s if for now, until next time. Goodbye.