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The Iron Giant Hardcover – May 18, 1999
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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
"The Iron Giant is a story so gripping that when you begin to read it aloud, everyone stops to listen, young children and old people alike. And once you know it, you never forget it. A classic is something utterly strange and original, and yet as deeply familiar and necessary as your own hands. The Iron Giant is like no other story in the world, and thirty years after its first publication, we need it as much as ever." -- Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife
"A wonderfully inventive story with the vivid language and startling images of the poet. It has music, momentum, and magic. What else can you ask for?" -- Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth
"High-spirited and entertaining... The Iron Giant is a tall-tale hero in a parable for today." -- The Horn Book
"One of the greatest of modern fairy tales." -- The Observer (England)
Top customer reviews
A big hole is dug near where the Iron Giant had gone back into the sea and is covered with branches, straw, and soil, with an old truck on the nearby hill as bait to trap the monster. At first, he does not come, but eventually he does fall in and is covered with a mound of dirt. However, the following spring, he digs out of the trap and starts eating all the barbed wire for miles around, as well as hinges which he tears off gates, tin cans which he finds in ditches, tractors, cars, and trucks. The farmers talk about calling in the army. But Hogarth has a plan. What is it? And when a giant space lizard the size of Australia comes to Earth from Orion and threatens to destroy the planet by eating all living things, is there anything that Hogarth and the Iron Giant can do to save mankind?
We saw the 1999 Warner Brothers animated feature film The Iron Giant, and our boys really liked it, but I didn't know until a few years ago that the movie was based on a book, originally published in England as The Iron Man, although the two are very different in many respects. The book is quite spare, consisting of only five chapters, so it is an easy read for middle grade students. There is one mention of the stars being billions and trillions and zillions of years old, but it is also said that the people wept and prayed to God to save them from the space lizard. No bad language occurs. Author Ted Hughes was poet laureate of England from 1984 until his death in 1998. The book is said to be "a powerful tribute to peace on earth--and in all the universe," so some might see in it a little anti-war propaganda, but the fact is that no reasonable person really wants war and that everyone hopes and strives for peace. There is a sequel, The Iron Woman, describing retribution based on environmental themes related to pollution.