Giants Beware! (Chronicles of Claudette #1) by Jorge Aguirre, is an unconventional adventure tale for readers eight years and older. I call this story as ‘an unconventional adventure’ because it is about unconventional characters that don’t follow traditional gender roles as we know them.
This is what I liked about the characterisation in this book — the kids are just kids, not girls or boys, and they are determined to follow their dreams without a thought to the fact that it suits their gender or not. And in pursuing their dreams, they discover more about themselves and their perceptions also change.
Our heroine is Claudette, who dreams of being a giant slayer and her best friend is Marie, who aspires to be a princess and can go to any silly length to act like one. Gaston is Marie’s brother and his passion is to be a pastry chef. Just as some kids cannot be held back once they make up their minds to do something, Claudette wants to slay a giant so if there are no giants in her nice little village, she is going to go out look for one!
Claudette ropes in Marie and Gaston on her secret mission to search for a giant — without their parents’ permission!
Claudette, the tomboy, soon finds that her friends turn out to play important roles in the danger they find themselves in, and each discovers a new side to their personality that they didn’t know they had. The story also gives the lesson that you can win without a fight as many things can easily have peaceful solutions, you just need the skills and intelligence to see things that way.
The story also has many humorous touches, and offers the right combination of adventure, humour and nice illustrations to appeal to young readers.
Published in Dawn, Young World April 15th, 2017