The Iron Giant (Paperback)
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DescriptionAn iron giant saves the world in this contemporary classic. A mysterious creature stalks the land, eating barbed wire and devouring tractors and plows. The farmers are mystified--and terrified. And then they glimpse him in the night: the Iron Giant, taller than a house, with glowing headlight eyes and an insatiable taste for metal. The hungry giant must be stopped at any cost. Only a young boy named Hogarth is brave enough to lead the Iron Giant to a safe home. And only Hogarth knows where to turn when a space-bat as big as Australia, hungry for every living thing on Earth, darkens the sky. First published in 1968, Ted Hughes's classic tale is a powerful tribute to peace on earth--and in all the universe. Of it Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "How grateful we should be for Ted Hughes's brilliant The Iron Giant. It speaks to all ages, and we need its message even more now." Philip Pullman called it "so gripping that when you begin to read it aloud, everyone stops to listen, young children and old people alike." Whether you think of it as a science fiction fantasy or a modern fairy tale or a tall-tale parable for today, you will never forget it.
- Published: 20 July 1999
- Format: Paperback 96 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780375801532 ISBN 10: 0375801537
- Sales rank: 54,034
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Reviews for The Iron Giant
easy read for middle schoolers
A mysterious, fearsome giant, made of iron, walks out of nowhere to the top of a cliff. No one knows where he had come from or how he was made. When he steps off the cliff, he crashes and breaks into a hundred pieces, but over time all the pieces fit themselves back together again. Soon afterwards a farmer's son named Hogarth is fishing in a stream and at evening sees a giant black figure, bigger than a house. No one, except his own father, believes Hogarth at first, but when reports begin to come in about missing tractors, plows, and other farm machinery made of steel and iron, everyone decides that something needs to be done.
A big hole is dug near where the Iron Giant had gone back into the sea and is covered with branches, straw, and soil, with an old truck on the nearby hill as bait to trap the monster. At first, he does not come, but eventually he does fall in and is covered with a mound of dirt. However, the following spring, he digs out of the trap and starts eating all the barbed wire for miles around, as well as hinges which he tears off gates, tin cans which he finds in ditches, tractors, cars, and trucks. The farmers talk about calling in the army. But Hogarth has a plan. What is it? And when a giant space lizard the size of Australia comes to Earth from Orion and threatens to destroy the planet by eating all living things, is there anything that Hogarth and the Iron Giant can do to save mankind?
We saw the 1999 Warner Brothers animated feature film The Iron Giant, and our boys really liked it, but I didn't know until a few years ago that the movie was based on a book, originally published in England as The Iron Man, although the two are very different in many respects. The book is quite spare, consisting of only five chapters, so it is an easy read for middle grade students. There is one mention of the stars being billions and trillions and zillions of years old, but it is also said that the people wept and prayed to God to save them from the space lizard. No bad language occurs. Author Ted Hughes was poet laureate of England from 1984 until his death in 1998. The book is said to be "a powerful tribute to peace on earth-and in all the universe," so some might see in it a little anti-war propaganda, but the fact is that no reasonable person really wants war and that everyone hopes and strives for peace. There is a sequel, The Iron Woman, describing retribution based on environmental themes related to pollution. by Wayne S. Walker