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The Iron Giant Paperback – July 20, 1999


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (July 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375801537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375801532
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A huge, mysterious iron man stands at the top of a cliff, surveying the ocean. His eyes glow white, red, infrared. Then, he lifts one enormous foot and steps out into nothingness. Crraaasssssh! His head, arms, legs, ears, hands all break off as he tumbles onto the rocks below. The end of the story? No, it's only the beginning of this modern parable of peace in the universe. The Iron Giant has an insatiable appetite for barbed wire, tractors, and rusty chains. While farmers and townspeople run around trying to stop him, destroy him, capture him, only one boy understands what must be done. Meanwhile, an even bigger threat hovers over the land, in the shape of an evil-looking space-bat-angel-dragon. How will the people of the world survive the impending doom?

Ted Hughes, poet laureate of England, first wrote this compelling tall tale in 1968. Clearly, the need for its message of peace has not diminished in the decades since. Simple, repetitive sentences carry the mesmerizing spirit of traditional fairy tales. And Andrew Davidson's black-and-white illustrations, with their menacing air and timeless appeal, drive the point home in vivid style. (Ages 8 and older) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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."
--Booklist

"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)

"Riveting."
--The Tablet (England)

"Brilliant."
--The Listener (England)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I love how the space bat Angel Dragon becomes the iron giants slave.
I think he is cute
I distinctly remember reading the book as a part of the March of Dimes' Reading Olympics contest one year...where it brought me to tears.
Christopher
It's very much in children's book format, with small, chunk-sized stories, that would be very fun to read out loud.
Joseph Dewey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on October 4, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Director Brad Bird's take on Ted Hughes' memorable 1968 tale, The Iron Giant, differs substantially from the story. So much so, that the book and the film may not have the same audience. Then again, those taken with the movie will likely want to explore the brief (80 page) book. This recent paperback edition features a beautiful cover drawn from the Warner Bros. movie, although the story is Hughes' original. Priced far below the lavish library volumes, this edition may be the best of both worlds, providing a look at the film's inspiration for the Iron Giant's many curious fans.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think this is a really good book, so I think you should read it.
It was very funny sometimes, like when the seagulls found the giant in tiny pieces, and he came up with a funny way to find all his parts!
It was very exciting. The Iron Giant has to go into fire against a space monster that is bothering the world.
This book teaches about living in peace and not having so many wars. I am 71/2 years old, and it was not too hard for me to read by myself.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book with my Fourth Grade classes for the last eight years. The reading, while "easy", is nonetheless rich. My students' writing is often rife with violence. It can be difficultto convince them that excitement and suspense canbe achieved without "blood and guts". After reading the Iron Giant, they are pleasantly surprised and often write "sequels" to the Iron Giant's adventures. The prose is poetic. It makes a terrific read aloud.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first read The Iron Giant when I was in second grade, back in '75, and it was the first thing that I read that made a real impression on me. I think it's great that this book will be available to a whole new generation of children to enjoy, as I want to share it with my own children.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A metaphor can be a very dangerous tool to wield; quite often while you are trying to reference one particular aspect of a thing, myriad other associations and relations spring to peoples' minds and they may well be quite different from those correspondences you intended to summon. Such is definitely the case with The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes--once England's poet laureate, now best remembered, albeit unfairly, by angry feminists as the husband who drove Sylvia Plath to her grave. Hughes tells the amiable story of a huge metal robot who crashes to Earth and after putting himself back together begins to sate his enormous appetite for metal by devouring cars and tractors and the like. Infuriated local farmers trap him, despite the efforts of one friendly boy named Hogarth. But the Iron Giant turns out to be quite useful when an enormous space-bat-angel-dragon attacks Earth and demands a tribute of animate matter to consume. The Iron Giant agrees to battle the monster, vanquishes him and determines that the creature is actually peaceful but was attracted to Earth by man's violence. The space-bat-angel-dragon agrees to return to space, where his "music of the spheres" has such a calming effect that Earth becomes a peaceful place.
Now the intent of Hughes's original story, as well as that of the very good recent movie which is loosely based on it, is to show the futility of war, violence, etc. Hughes book was written at the height of the Cold War and the space-bat-angel-dragon can be understood to be the Left's idealized version of the Soviet Union--a threat only because of our own attitudes and actions. The Soviet Union having been disposed of in subsequent years, the movie makes a more generalized anti-gun, anti-military, pro-nonconformity statement.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian Markowski on January 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I first saw "The Iron Giant" as a movie and it's a fantastic movie. When I saw a copy of the book for sale I quickly snatched it up, I thought I would read it with my daughter.

The thing that first surprised me about this book is that it is beautifully written. It's obvious from its prose that Ted Hughes is also a poet. The slightly sophisticated language might be too much for those under 7, but I found it refreshingly charming.

The second surprise was that this book had very little to do with the movie. There's an Iron Giant in the movie and book as well as a young boy...and that's about it. The theme's are the same (in that this world can be a world of peace instead of a world of violence and fear) but both approach this lesson from different directions.

In the book, the Iron Giant, tricked by the boy, falls into a trap set for him by fearful farmers. The farmers quickly dispose of the giant, but the giant returns and it's up to the boy again to figure out how best to deal with him. In the end the boy and giant become friends but there is a bigger threat on the horizon, a space dragon the size of Australia has come to earth and only the Iron Giant can save the planet.

There's a lot of deep information here for such a short children's book. The Iron Giant (like in the movie) represents misguided fear. The space dragon can mean a number of things, but I align it with this planets habit of aggression... an aggression that threatens to consume us all. This book was written 30 years ago, but it seems timelier now than it did in the 1970's.
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