Most people know the story of the Iron Giant from the movie version released in 1999. But the movie is leagues different from the book, which is a marvelous story to read aloud to your children. Despite the pleas and moans to read just one more chapter, we stuck to the suggested format and read it in five nights. It is entertaining and original, and we were always on the edge of our seat at the end of each chapter.
When the Iron giant first appears on earth the people think him a menace, because he is eating all of the farmerâs steel and iron farm machinery. As this puts them in a predicament, the farmers trick the giant and bury him in a gigantic hole. He eventually un-earths himself and the townspeople decide to call on the army to destroy him with âanti-tankâ guns. Hogarth (heâs in the movie version too) has a better idea:
Move him to the dump where he can eat all the scrap metal he wants. The iron giant is so pleased with the move his eyes turn a happy blue. And the townspeople are happy with the arrangement as well, especially when an alien space-bat-angel-dragon creature comes from somewhere out there and takes up all of Australia. The Iron giant is the only hope the world has of defeating the space monster. Itâs a good thing they decided to keep the hunka chunka-metal guy around!
The Iron Giant is an oddity, and reads like an old-fashioned fairy tale. We all enjoyed it, and thought it more interesting as it was so unlike the movie. We even have plans to build our own mini-giants out of scrap metal and screw pieces, just as soon as daddy tells us which of his 50 or so jars full of miscellaneous nuts, bolts, and washers can be spared for such a project.