The plight of the outsider, the Cassandra syndrome, the origin of winter, the disruption caused by tourists, and who-knows-what-else are taken on in this top-heavy fable of a strange little girl who comes floating down the river in a shell and into the life of a quiet village. Soon an ice giant also approaches, though no one believes the little girl when she says so. She knows because she talks to animals, who also tell her that only the bottoms of the giant's feet are vulnerable. So she accepts his challenge to a race and kills him by putting knives and forks in his path. Then what? The people don't thank her because now they have a dead ice giant on their hands, but people in other towns ask her to come kill off their giants--or ask her to come just ""because she was different."" There's no aura of mystery around All-by-Herself, just a sense that she truly did come out of nowhere.