Aguirre, J. (2012). Giants beware! New York: First Second.
Claudette longs for adventure outside the walls of her town. Sadly, to Claudette at least, the walls were built to protect her and the rest of the townspeople from the "baby feet" eating giant that lives on the mountain. After hearing a story about how the giant was chased away to the mountain, Claudette decides that it is time for her to find the giant and slay him so that he'll never eat babies feet again. She convinces her young brother, Gaston, who aspires to be a pastry chef, and her best friend, Marie, who longs to become a princess, to go along on the journey and help her slay the giant. The trio meets several obstacles along the way, and they each find a side of themselves that they hadn't seen before. After surviving the "Forest of Death" and the "Mad River King," the three friends are very surprised by what they find at Giant's Peak. The giant is actually a baby giant who only wants friends to play with him. After managing to convince the adults who came to save them that Claudette did indeed slay the giant, things return almost to normal. Marie, Gaston, and Claudette have a new friend, and they return to Giant's Peak as often as possible to play with him.
This is the first graphic novel I've read cover to cover, and I really enjoyed it once I got used to the format. The story is full of wit and larger than life characters. The dialogue is funny and filled with humor that the target audience will love. Illustrations are bright and bold but are simplistic enough that younger readers could enjoy this book. The thing I liked best is the growth of the three main characters. They each find bravery within themselves at different points in the story, and their true friendship and affection for each other is clear throughout. I can see why it was nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award last year.
A blacksmith's daughter is unsatisfied with her peaceful life within the fortress of Mont Petit Pierre. Rambunctious and loudmouthed, Claudette yearns for action, like killing the giant that lives on the mountain outside of town. With her timid brother, Gaston, and her ladylike friend, Marie, she blusters her way through the fortress gate and into the Forest of Death, beyond which lies the Mad River, and then Giant's Peak. Can these three kids, armed with a wooden sword, Marie's intelligence, Gaston's fortitude, Claudette's stinky feet, and a pug named Valiant, survive in the wilderness and defeat the giant? Of course they can, but not in the ways they might have expected. The adults in the story are distinguished by exaggerated characteristics, but their actions are driven by realistic, largely generous motives. The story strikes a fine balance between being action-and friendship-driven. The art is similarly well-balanced: Rosado's ink drawings are strong and lively, with expressive characters and well-drawn landscapes. Digitally applied color is natural, bright, and nonintrusive. Fans of Jimmy Gownley's "Amelia Rules" (S&S) and Jeff Smith's "Bone" series (Scholastic) will snap this title up.
Wiley, P. (2012, May). [Review of Giants Beware!]. School Library Journal.
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~ This would be a great book to use as an introduction to the Graphic Novel genre for second or third grade students. Second grade is when more students become interested in these types of books, and this title is good for them because there isn't too much text on each page. There are fewer panels on many pages as well. The story is fun and full of adventure, and since two of the main characters are girls, it would interest a wide range of students.