Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Trap the Worm by Brian Tyler [Children of Dune soundtrack].
My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)
I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).
Published: April 10, 2012
Publisher: First Second
Current Amazon Rank: #44,824
Author's Website: Giants Beware
Want it? Find it here.
The First Line:
"He was the most evil creature ever to set foot in the valley... A depraved monster that took joy in terrorizing our beloved town of Mont Petit Pierre. We called him... THE BABY-FEET-EATING GIANT!"
You know when you find a story that is fun to read no matter how typical it may seem on the surface because of how it is told? If you can't guess, Giants Beware! is like that. :) We have young Claudette who has a single, universe-pulling purpose in life: to fight giants. Her best friend Marie, who happens to be a princess in training, is most tolerant of her antics and Claudette lets her sword-making, pastry chef-aspiring little brother Gaston tag along without a problem. She soon of course decides it best to sneak out of town on her own to find this giant, and just happens to lie to her friends to get them to come along, saying the princess board with look quite favorably on Marie's application, and their father would finally teach Gaston sword making. This of course isn't going to come back to haunt her at all.
I really enjoyed a lot of aspects in this story. Above all, is the art. The art is hilarious and uses the full extent of its hyperbolic, almost comic strip-like medium to great effect. Claudette's facial expressions and movements are especially humorous and she tends to pull you right in with her friends on her adventures. She's as fiesty as they come and one amusing joy after another to see her "come alive" on the page.
On a technical note, the paneling does a fantastic job of pacing and changing angles to fully immerse the reader. All very subtle of course, unless you are looking for it. But it makes the reading flow so smooth and natural and I wanted to say "bravo!" all along. The humor ranges from high to low brow and is something very young children through adults can enjoy thoroughly. Even scanning through makes me want to read it again. Once off, there are quite a few scenarios where things are terribly convenient for our little troupe, but if you can let that go, your are in for a fun romp. The ending was a bit too formulaic for me as well, but the humor patched over these well enough that it didn't kick it out of the running.
I loved the seeing their dad's own mini arc as he went out to find his kids and bring them safely back. It was also really cool to see him as a handicapped character (in a wheelchair) not only being a natural part of the story without his disability as a focal point, but also that he managed to kick butt just by being who he was. This story left room for a sequel but wraps up nicely as it is, with hints of an already realized (and potentially expanding) world. I really wouldn't mind seeing more of little Claudette, Gaston, and Marie again, especially if they can keep the humor ramped up.
The Final Word:
A light read with humor reigning supreme. The art style and writing win out for the laughs in this fun find.
P.S See if you can spot the art mistake between pages 51 and 57. :)