The Giant-Slayer: Book summary and reviews of The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence

The Giant-Slayer

By Iain Lawrence

The Giant-Slayer
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2009,
    304 pages.
    Age range: Children


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Book Summary

The spring of 1955 tests Laurie Valentine’s gifts as a storyteller. After her friend Dickie contracts polio and finds himself confined to an iron lung, Laurie visits him in the hospital. There she meets Carolyn and Chip, two other kids trapped inside the breathing machines. Laurie’s first impulse is to flee, but Dickie begs her to tell them a story. And so Laurie begins her tale of Collosso, a rampaging giant, and Jimmy, a tiny boy whose destiny is to become a slayer of giants.

As Laurie embellishes her tale with gnomes, unicorns, gryphons, and other fanciful creatures, Dickie comes to believe that he is a character in her story. Little by little Carolyn, Chip, and other kids who come to listen, recognize counterparts as well. Laurie’s tale is so powerful that when she’s prevented from continuing it, Dickie, Carolyn, and Chip take turns as narrators. Each helps bring the story of Collosso and Jimmy to an end—changing the lives of those in the polio ward in startling ways.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The author creates a masterful tale-within-a-tale while also shining a light on a rarely discussed era that affected tens of thousands of North American children. Most of all, he reminds us that stories have the power to carry the spirit through even the darkest days." - Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness

"Starred Review. Distinctive, emotionally honest characters and consistently engrossing prose make this book a standout. Ages 8–12." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Iain Lawrence Author Biography

When Iain Lawrence finished high school, he knew that he wanted to be a writer. He started with short stories and bits of non fiction but had very little success. He worked at different jobs that didn't last very long: logging in Ontario; fishing for salmon off the west coast; picking daffodils at Easter; inflating balloons and setting up skittles at a traveling carnival; clearing streams in the Rockies; fighting forest fires on Vancouver Island. Then he studied journalism in Vancouver and went to work at the small-town papers of northern B.C.

He stuck with these papers for ten years, learning a lot about writing: how to do it quickly without fretting over every phrase; how deadlines could be inspiring; how to tell a story in as few words as possible. He moved from job to job and...

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