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The Iron Giant


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About the Author

Ted Hughes, late poet laureate of England, was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, in 1930. After attending Cambridge University, he went on to become a well-known poet, novelist, and essayist with dozens of books to his credit. His last work, Birthday Letters, a poetry collection chronicling his relationship with American poet Sylvia Plath, was published shortly before his death in 1998 at the age of 68.


"A tall-tale hero in a parable for today. The author's intensely felt theme and his invention of dramatic details make this brief piece of fiction high-spirited and entertaining."
--The Horn Book

"A clever, inventive fantasy of timely appeal to children."

"Written with such great gusto, with such vivid precision, that children will sit spellbound in their ringside seats."
--Publishers Weekly

"A great book to start up a family reading tradition. Irresistible."
--Boston Phoenix

"Reckoned one of the greatest of modern fairy tales."
--The Observer (England)

"A thrilling and unforgettable tale, magnificently told."
--Trade News (England)

"Hughes has never written more compellingly...with linguistic tact and imaginative power to achieve something of possible enduring consequence."
--The Times (England)

--The Tablet (England)

--The Listener (England)

Hughes's 1968 story of unexpected friendships and redemptions returns with new artwork from Carlin in a polished and well-designed edition that uses occasional gatefolds and die-cuts to amplify key moments. Carlin's mixed-media artwork emphasizes the giant's innate otherness, his shadow looming over the pages, ominous red eyes glowing, the use of collage hinting at the constructed nature of the automaton. After the arrival of a "space-bat-angel-dragon" (whose approach to Earth unfolds in concentric die-cut circles), the giant wins over those humans he'd previously terrified, and even his extraterrestrial opponent turns out to be more than meets the eye. It's an elegant and thoughtful treatment of a story that, with its hopeful message of global unity, feels as important and timely as ever. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 2-6-Hughes's parable about peace, originally penned in 1968, is given new life with Carlin's cut-paper, multimedia illustrations. In the first half of the book, after crashing to Earth, the Iron Giant re-assembles himself and wreaks havoc on the local farming community by eating its tractors and farm implements. After succumbing to a pit-trap, he is tamed by Hogarth, a boy who leads him to a scrap yard where the Iron Giant can finally eat his fill. In the second half of the story, a space-bat-angel-dragon as large as Australia threatens the Earth. Several pages of concentric die-cut circles punch up the importance of its arrival. The formerly silent Iron Giant finds his voice to challenge him to an endurance test. Burnt nearly to a crisp after two consecutive trips to the surface of the sun, the space-bat-angel-dragon relents and agrees to sing peaceful music-of-the-spheres instead of waging war. The oversize illustrations are rendered in a restrained muted palette of blues, browns, reds, and blacks but exhibit great variety, sometimes emphasizing the shadowy, blurry nature of the giant, other times utilizing sharply cut lines and finely drawn small townsfolk. Occasional use of hand lettering amid the text lends drama and interest. Lengthy for a picture book, but a bit short for a novel, this is a smartly designed, highly illustrated novella in picture-book format.-Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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