Friday, May 25, 2012

Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre, art by Rafael Rosado

Claudette has big goals of becoming a giant slayer.  Unfortunately for her, there are no giants to slay in her very safe walled city.  Ever determined, Claudette sets out on an adventure with her friend Marie, who wants to be a princess, and her little brother Gaston, who wants to be a sword maker/pastry chef.  Their quest: find and slay the baby-foot eating giant.

I don't know if I have to words to express how much I loved this.  LOVED.  It was smart and sweet and adorable and teaches about friendship, determination, and that bravery comes in all forms, and that it always pays off to be smart.

Claudette is very bold girl.  She doesn't care that the stories that are told are scary.  She's not afraid of giants!  Gaston, on the other hand, is very timid, something he knows disappoints his father.  Marie is Claudette's unlikely best friend and her complete opposite.  Her goal in life is to be a princess, but just because she has princess dreams doesn't mean she isn't smart or brave.

The three sneak out of their  walled city, after Claudette convinces Gaston that their father will be so impressed with him, he'll teach him the sword making craft, and Marie has been told that slaying a giant means "automatic princess-ship from the princess certification board."  So off they go.  Claudette might be the brave one, but it's Gaston who gets his courage up to save Claudette and Marie from the Apple Hag, and it's Marie whose smarts get them out of a jam with the Mad River King.  When Gaston and Marie realize Claudette tricked them into coming, Claudette discovers it's hard to be brave all by herself.

And of course, the baby-foot eating giant is not what they were expecting at all.

It was so great, seeing Gaston learn to stand up for himself and for his friends, Marie showing she's more than just a pretty face, and Claudette realizing how important and valuable her friends are.

The dialogue was smart and snappy and the pacing was great.  Rafael Rosado's illustrations were bright, cute and cartoony and fit perfectly with the story.

If you're brave and true and have good friends, you'll be OK!

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