A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Giants Beware! is a fantastic graphic novel that twists traditional fairy tale gender roles in a smart, funny way. Some peril and a few creepy concepts, like a legendary giant who likes to eat baby feet, along with a few edgy images, like a razor-toothed barracuda, might turn off younger or more sensitive kids. But the lighthearted tone should ease most younger elementary-age kids into the action. Some brief potty humor and a few iffy words, like "butt," and "hag," will thrill young kids, but might make some parents uncomfortable.
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What's the story?
After hearing the legend of the baby-feet-eating giant that has plagued her medieval French village, the over-eager Claudette vows to hunt down the beast and slay it. She tricks her brother -- the timid young foodie Gaston -- and her best friend -- the princess wanna-be Marie -- into joining her on the quest. Along the way, they meet a grabby tree, a scary hag who threatens to cook the kids alive, and an angry river god who tries to trap Marie into marrying his fish-faced son. Each character is tested and finds his or her inner strength, but will they have the mettle to challenge the giant?
Is it any good?
GIANTS BEWARE is written and illustrated by veterans of the kids' TV and animation industry, whose experience shows in the quick humor and colorful, cartoony illustrations. Kids will enjoy the expressive way the characters are drawn, as well as the hilarious dialogue and unique villains. Parents, too, will find laughs in a few of the clever jokes targeted at them. ("Somebody ended their sentence with a preposition!" says the princess-in-training as she corrects death-threat signage.)
But the greatest aspect of the lengthy comic is the clever way it inserts positive messages about the value of kindness and the importance of friendship into a traditional knight's quest framework. Also, it flips the stereotypical fairy tale roles of brave knight and helpless princess by making the bravest character a young redheaded girl and the pretty princess a smart and savvy young lady.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fairy tales. Who is usually the star in fairy tales? How is this story different? Which are your favorite fairy tales?
Kids: Did you think Claudette was a boy at first? What made you think that?
How are girls usually portrayed in picture books, movies, and on TV?
- Author: Jorge Aguirre
- Illustrator: Rafael Rosado
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: First Second
- Publication date: April 10, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 12
- Number of pages: 208
- Available on: Paperback
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