Years ago, a baby-feet-eating giant plagued Mont Petit Pierre until a marquis chased the behemoth to top of the largest mountain in the region. Since then no giant has ever bothered the town again. The fortress walls of Mont Petit Pierre are there to keep giants, monsters and magic out.
That’s not enough for feisty young Claudette. In her mind, the giant needs to be slain. That’s the only way to stay safe. There are too obstacles facing Claudette-getting out of town and getting help to go along. Her friend Marie’s father, the current marquis, won’t let Claudette leave on official giant-slaying business. He sees no need to fight monsters. Claudette’s poppa, a chair-bound former dragon slayer, won’t let Claudette into his secret trunk where she is positive he keeps weapons for fighting monsters.
Marie wants to become a princess and trains for such, making Claudette help with princess and the pea tests and more. Claudette’s brother Gaston is an easily frightened boy who wants to be a pastry chef and a sword maker. Neither is keen to accompany Claudette on her quest so she relies on a bit of trickery to get their assistance. She promises Marie that giant killing grants automatic princess=ship and tells Gaston their father will finally teach the younger boy sword making if he helps fell the giant.
With Claudette and Gaston on board, Claudette still needs a way to get out of town. The three children put together a scheme to get a map and sneak out of town. It helps that no one takes them seriously and Marie knows just the thing to get a bored and worried guard to open the gates for them. Then it is onward to the Forest of Death drawn on their map, though Gaston desperately wishes they were off to the ‘Forest of Adorable Puppies’ instead.
Eventually, the adults figure out Claudette, Gaston and Marie are gone. The marquis starts a rather bumbling search for them that brings to mind The Princess Bride. Despite protests that the rescue is only for the able-bodied, Claudette’s father and his friend Zubair also set off to find the children (and often have to help the townsfolk along the way).
Giants Beware is a comical twist on quests and bravery. I think many of my students would enjoy Claudette’s brash personality and her realization that she is not as tough alone as she seems. Predatory trees, apple hags and river kings are some of the challenges thrown in the way of the children as theyt learn that not everything in stories is true.
I am curious to see what future volumes may hold with the hints of magic and things the children do not know about Mont Petit Pierre.
I read the galley of this book using NetGalley.
Check out a few pages of this book here.