REVIEW SUMMARY: Fun story for kids and adults; great to read to/with your kids.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The fearsome Iron Giant becomes a hero when he challenges a huge space monster.


PROS: Fun, fairytale-like feel

CONS: My 5-year old is probably too young to enjoy this, even though she liked the movie.

BOTTOM LINE: A good book for the budding sf fan.

Having enjoyed the Iron Giant movie, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the children’s book on which it was based. I found and excellent copy of it this week. It’s the 30th anniversary edition by the Knopf imprint of Random House which has an excellent cover illustration (and interior illustrations) by Andrew Davidson.

The 80-page book is broken into five chapters, the first three dealing with the Iron Giant’s arrival and how he comes to stay on Earth. Hogarth, a farmer’s son, befriends the metal-eating giant and finds a home for him where he can do the least amount of damage. The last two chapters deal with the Iron Giant’s battle with an evil space monster the size of Australia. The giant, who himself is only a fraction of the monster’s size, challenges the monster to a contest of strength. The contest involves the Iron Giant being subjected to the heat of an oil fire while the space monster is subjected to the heat of the sun – a bit unfair, but hey, he is an evil space monster.

All-told, this was a fun story for kids. My own daughter enjoyed the movie but is still at the stage where a most of book’s appeal comes from looking at the pictures, of which the Iron Giant had only a few (excellent!) pencil drawings. So, this book is probably better suited for the “older” young readers. The message is positive as well. The monster story is an allegory for war and the ending sends the message of peace.

I do own a copy of Hughes story The Iron Woman?somewhere. I think I’ll go dig that out of the “archives”.

Filed under: Book Review

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