Thursday, February 16, 2012

Classic Book: Are All the Giants Dead? by Mary Norton

Yesterday's post Small Beings: The Borrowers aka The Secret World of Arrietty generated a comment from reader Imitorar about another of Mary Norton's books, Are All the Giants Dead?. Yes, I do know the book and have it on my shelves. Norton wrote only three books that were not in the Borrowers series (of which there are five). One book was the stand alone, Are All the Giants Dead? (1975), and the other two were set in another world, The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) which were the inspiration for Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Are All the Giants Dead? is of particular interest to SurLaLune readers if you are unaware of it because it is directly related to and inspired by fairy tales. In addition, the book was illustrated by Brian Froud who has a large following among fairy tale afficiandos.

Book description:

James, a young English boy, journeys to the fairy-tale world of princes and princesses, witches and fairies, giants and giant-killers, and invades the lair of the last giant to free a princess from an evil spell.

Finding himself in a land peopled with fairy tale characters, James attempts to help Princess Dulcibel who is destined to marry a toad after her ball falls into the well.

One Amazon reviewer, Kurt A. Johnson, explains the fairy tale connections better:

This wonderful book was written in 1975 by Mary Norton (1903-92), the author of the incomparable Borrowers stories. It tells the story of James, whose dream takes him to a distant land, where he meets many of the characters of old folktales, such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack-the-Giant-Slayer and Jack-of-the-Beanstalk. But, they are all old now, and past adventures. But, when the daughter of Beauty and the Beast (Boofy and Beau to their friends) needs help, James rises to the occasion. Although he's usually a fan of Science fiction, James must maneuver himself and the girl through this magical wonderland, in search of a magical frog, and answering the question, "Are all the giants dead?"

It's fun and charming and suitable for the entire family, so do check it out.

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