Skip to main content

GIANTS BEWARE! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado, 202pp, RL 3


There are publishers who put out great stories and there are publishers who put out beautiful books and there are a handful of publishers who manage to do both. In the world of kid's books, Candlewick Press and Amulet Books stand out as publishers of beautiful books that contain superlative stories. When it comes to graphic novels, :01 First Second publishes books that are equally compelling, entertaining and most often a work of art. Giants Beware! by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre is a perfect example of this synthesis.

Claudette, with her wooden sword and way of making herself heard, practically jumps right off the page. She has to be one of the feistiest, brashest, bravest girl heroines I have read since Mirka got her sword and Rapunzel used her hair as a lasso. But, like any good hero, Claudette knows the importance of having a strong crew behind you. This comes in the form of Gaston, Claudette's stubble-headed little brother who, while he loves to cook and treat his family and friends to culinary delights, also years to learn his father's craft of sword making, and her scrappy pug, Valiant. Rounding out the posse is the smart, reliable Marie, the daughter of the Marquis who takes her princess training very seriously and is unfailingly loyal to Claudette. 
After hearing the story of the giant that forced the town of Mont Petit Pierre to build a fortress around its perimeters for protection, Claudette is ready to track him down and slay him. But first, she has to break into her father's secret trunk where his monster fighting equipment remains locked up since he lost his legs, an arm and his sword to a dragon. She convinces Gaston and Marie to join her by telling them that killing a giant father will ensure that Father will teach Gaston how to make swords and Marie will win automatic Princess-ship from the Princess Certification Board.

The three set off and the adventure begins. Aguirre and Rosado do a fantastic job coming up with imaginative hurdles for the three to overcome. When the Marquis finally notices that Marie has gone missing, he does his best to round up the villagers to help rescue her. Unfortunately, this cowardly bunch insists on being paid for their services rather than doing it out of the goodness of their own hearts. While this wrangling is going on, Gaston and Claudette's father, Augustine, and his assistant, Zubair, are first out of the gate to rescue the children. 


Claudette, Marie and Gaston are such entertaining, delightful characters that I think I would be happy to read about them giving Valiant a bath. However, Aguirre and Rosado have created a richly detailed, rollicking story with a strong fairy tale feel to it that will be sure to entrance both girls and boys. All three children get the chance to shine when facing adversity and for Claudette, her moment comes when she is forced to admit that she can't fight giants on her own.

The climax of the story result in play, not violence. There is no giant killing, but quite a bit of tickling, which is perfect. When the children realize that the village is coming after them and the giant, they find a way to protect their new found friend and ensure that the villagers will not return to hunt him in the future. And, in what I hope is a glimpse of stories to come, there are some oblique references to Juliette, Claudette's even more fiercely brave mother who is not part of the story, as well as other giants who might be roaming the mountainsides. I hope that there are more stories on the horizon for Claudette, Gaston, Marie and Valiant!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …