THE GIANT-SLAYER by Iain Lawrence
Kirkus Star

THE GIANT-SLAYER

Age Range: 11 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

The year is 1955, and 11-year-old Laurie Valentine is lonely. Her father is a fundraiser for polio prevention and is so paranoid about the disease that his daughter is terrified of daffodils—the harbinger of polio season. When Laurie’s only friend in the world, Dickie Espinosa, contracts polio and ends up in an iron lung, she sneaks off to the hospital and begins to tell her tragically captive audience a fantastical story about a six-ton giant named Collosso and the boy who was born to slay him—populating her richly drawn world with greedy charlatans, Gypsies, great hunters, gnomes and the shamefully unmagical Swamp Witch who is “half woman, half baloney.” The children’s eager interruptions, predictions and interpretations—aptly peppered with ’50s lingo and cultural references—all shape a fluid narrative that will break readers’ hearts and then, impossibly, lift them back up. This profound, magical, dryly comical novel reminds readers of the power of story, but they will already be feeling it in their bones. Masterful. (author’s note about the history of polio in North America, acknowledgments) (Historical fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73376-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2009




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