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I Kill Giants Paperback – May 26, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Barbara Thorson, bullied and friendless, will not back down. She is smart, angry, won’t follow the rules, won’t let anyone close, and sees things no one else does. In short, she is a very disturbed girl, and the power of I Kill Giants is its ability to convey the reality of a frightened little girl’s pain along with the wonder of her apparent fantasies. Kelly’s portrayal of the material is nothing short of literary, echoing the similarly combined elements in Roald Dahl’s Mathilda (1988), just as the giants that Barbara describes to her tentative new friend Sophia recall Quentin Blake’s illustrations in The BFG (1982). Nimura’s line work also retains the jittery quality of the British illustrator’s style, creating a world of sharp tension. As Barbara begins to let people in, her insistence that the giants are coming threatens these intensely longed-for relationships. Whether or not they exist, the metaphor of giants to symbolize the vast terrors of a person’s inner life has never been better realized. Along with Storm in the Barn (the 2009 Booklist Top of the List winner for Youth Fiction), this is graphic storytelling at its zenith: employing fantasy to offer profound insight and take readers on a deeply emotional journey. Grades 9-12. --Jesse Karp

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607060922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607060925
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The very first giant, Ur, was the result of a union between the earth and sky. When he became too lonely from being the only of his kind, he tore himself apart, creating a group of other giants: swamp giants, mountain giants, frost giants, and, worst of all, titans. They're unstoppable.

We know this because Barbara Thorson explains it just so. Barbara is waiting for the giants to come, at which time she will fend them off with her deadly hammer. It's tough work, preparing for an oncoming invasion and being the sole person tasked with killing them when they arrive.

Barbara is a unique fifth grader, even aside from training to kill giants. She wears giant bunny ears, avoids talking to most of her classmates, has regular conversations with fairies, calls her P.E. teacher a bull dyke, and even slaps the school psychologist. She's antisocial and proud of it, considering almost all the people she encounters to be stupid and annoying.

Only fellow student Sophia manages to crack Barbara's thick shell, acquiring a place of trust and friendship that no one else ever has--or even tried to attain. The sweetness of the friendship is genuine, as are most of the relationships in I Kill Giants. Whether Barbara is dealing with her principal, her psychologist, or her sister (who is raising Barbara and her rarely seen brother), and even when the dialogue feels ready-made to fit a movie starring a sassy protagonist, the words have the ring of truth to them. Even when writer Joe Kelly pushes the dialogue to the brink, he pulls back just in time to ensure believability. Better yet, he sends in surprises to usher the story along in unexpected paths (anchoring it as he goes with some fun allusions; my favorite being one of the best movie quotes ever: "No fighting in the war room!").
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I Kill Giants was a book that I had heard about for a while now but never got around to picking up. My six year old daughter is starting to get in to reading and I have been picking up books that I thought she would like.

I read this before I let her read it and it's a good thing I read it first because the subject matter and some of the language is a little over her age.

It is definitely a book that everyone else can get in to.

It's the story of eight year old Barbara Thorson. She hunt and kills Giants. Or does she?

Barbara lets everyone who will listen know that she kills Giants. She spends all of her time reading books about Giants and keeps her Giant killing Hammer named Coveleski with her at all times. The only problem is, nobody else can see these giants either.

The reader spends most of the story wondering if Barbara is just plain crazy, or if there really is something more going on than we can see. There is something going on underneath the surface.

This story is about one little girl's fears and dreams, it's about how she copes with events, and solves her problems.

Oh and it's about hunting and killing giants.

Or is it?
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Format: Paperback
This touching and humorous story of a young girl who must invent monsters to cope with her demons touched something inside of me. I bought it blind because I was looking for something light and the cover art was fun. It was not what I was expecting yet I read it in one go. This is one of the only books that I have ever allowed myself a few tears for. The writing and art are perfect for this story, and the protagonist is someone who we can all relate with at different times. If you want a treasured part of your collection which will stir up emotion, get this book!
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Format: Paperback
This trade collects the entire series I Kill Giants (issues #1-7).

Barbara Thorson is an anti-social fifth grader who has more important things to worry about than school, detentions, or the opinions of others. Because she kills giants. Ones more frightening and real than anyone else understands...

I won't talk in detail about what I liked about the story of I Kill Giants in order to keep this review free of spoilers, but I absolutely loved it. Barbara's story is a captivating blend of fantasy and reality, as this overmatched but resolved child deals with giants of all kinds. It's a layered, emotionally packed achievement of the graphic novel medium.

The art is a blend of stark black and white work and a more grey-tone approach to black and white, often in the same panel. The underlying shapes of the character designs are exaggerated (giving some faces a particularly square look, others oval, etc.) and line quality varies from crisp to sketchy. All of this combines to make the art very unique and take some getting used to. You can tell that it's quality work, but many readers might be a little put off at first glance. The thing is all of these things are done deliberately and carefully. After a short while the unfamiliarity dissipates, leaving the reader to appreciate how this odd yet wonderfully executed style perfectly compliments Barbara's story. There are some particularly jaw droppingly gorgeous pages later in the book.

Because it is so outside the norm in art, subject matter and style, Barbara's adventure doesn't necessarily grab the reader from page one, but it doesn't take long to become engaged in this deeply resonant story. Overall a perfectly paced and told masterpiece, I Kill Giants is easily and instantly became an all time favorite of mine.

Highest possible recommendation.
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