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The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes

The Iron Giant (1968)

by Ted Hughes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Iron Man (1)

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This is one of my husband's favourite stories, which he has recently been reading to our son. Unfortunately I think he puffed it up a bit too much and I was expecting something truly amazing. It is good however, and I enjoyed the illustrations by Laura Carlin in this edition. The Iron Man at first causes havoc, but later saves the day. It has the air of a traditional folk tale about it, though I can't say exactly what makes it so. ( )
  eclecticdodo | Sep 1, 2016 |
Ted Hughes's The Iron Man served as the inspiration for the 1999 Warner Bros. film The Iron Giant. Hughes's story, originally published in 1968, features the titular Iron Man who terrorizes a town by eating their metal products, and the boy Hogarth, who finds a way to talk to him. Unlike the animated film, the story is set in Hughes's native England, and, though set around the time in which it was written, it contains a certain timeless quality that will appeal to all readers.
The second half of the book did not make it into the film, as a "space-bat-angel-dragon" appears out of a star that moved to just within the moon's orbit and lands on Australia, demanding humanity feed it living things or it will take it upon itself to devour cities. Naturally, the Iron Man fights it, but I won't go in to details in order to avoid spoiling his methods and the ending. Hughes's story, like the Cold War setting in the animated adaptation, serves as a message of peace in the face of war. The overall effect is one of a truly enjoyable children's book that, like its later adaptation, will live on as a classic for readers of all ages. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 6, 2016 |
We had this tale read to us at primary school and not long after I borrowed the book to read it myself. Think this would've been in 1985, though could've been a year either way.

I remember thinking it was cool when the Iron Man fell of a cliff, smashed to pieces, yet managed to reassemble himself.

Also remember him being tricked into a tight spot by humans who later seek his help when the space dragon (believe that this is one of several alternate choices for the creature's name) lands on Earth.

Whether or not "The Iron Man" would appeal to me as an adult I can't say, but it feels appropriate to rate the book five stars considering that I borrowed it after the teacher had read it to my class. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Dec 31, 2015 |
One of my favorite animated films is The Iron Giant so when I discovered that it was based off of a book by the same name...well I had to read it didn't I? Ted Hughes, late poet laureate, created something truly special with this book. It's incredibly short (79 pages to be exact) but so much is crammed within those pages that it spoke more to me than some books three times that length. It is the tale of an Iron Giant/Man who arrives in a small town and begins wreaking havoc among the farmers by eating all of their metal machinery. At first, the farmers believe he is a monster and they trap him in a pit. However, when he escapes a little boy named Hogarth speaks upon the Iron Giant's behalf and comes up with a compromise. For a time, there is peace. And then (here's where the movie deviates) a creature born from a star lands on Australia. This creature is gigantic and shaped like a dragon and it demands to be fed living things. The people of earth decide to go to war against this creature instead. (Remember this is a "children's" book and it has already tackled prejudice (the farmers against the Iron Giant) and now it's taking human beings predilection for warfare head-on.) The weapons unleashed are unparalleled in their ferocity and yet the creature only smiles. It delivers an ultimatum and the people of earth are terrified. Once again, Hogarth (and yet just like a children's book to put the power in the hands of a child) has an idea. He asks the Iron Giant for help. A challenge of strength is issued which the dragon creature accepts.

I don't want to give away the ending. In fact, I feel slightly bad having said as much as I already have. I do hope you'll check this book out. It's worth your time (it took me no time at all to read it), I promise. It's lauded as an exceptionally brilliant read for a reason. There is so much to be gleaned from the story. ( )
  AliceaP | Apr 3, 2015 |
British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes’s classic novella The Iron Giant has seen a lot of changes and adaptations over the years. It was originally titled The Iron Man: A Children’s Story in Five Nights, but that was changed in the 1968 American version to avoid confusion with the comic book Iron Man. Fans of Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) 1999 film version may initially be put off by the difference between the stories; gone are the Cold War allegories and the development of friendship between young boy Hogarth and the titular giant that made the movie version so poignant. They will likely also be confused by the cover photo, which matches the animation style of the movie. Within the novel, however, are illustrations by Andrew Davidson, who first contributed to the book in 1985. Still, readers should enjoy the wonder and fantasy of the tale and will likely root for the Iron Giant to triumph regardless.
Hughes’s story focuses on the giant, whose appearance matches his name and who begins his journey by stumbling, crashing, falling to pieces and reassembling himself all within the first chapter. After literally pulling himself together, he inadvertently terrorizes a small British town by munching away on all their metal: barbed wire fences and farm equipment alike. Eventually the townspeople find peace with the giant and give him a way to quench his hunger for metal, but soon this is interrupted by the appearance of a giant--even more giant than the Iron Giant--dragon from outer space. The dragon is set on world-wide destruction and consumption, and only the Iron Giant can save the people of Earth from this evil.
The text of The Iron Giant is simplistic and accessible for children just transitioning to reading chapter books. It is a modern fairy tale at it’s finest, simultaneously highly imaginative and yet very familiar. ( )
1 vote ARQuay | Oct 24, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ted Hughesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carlin, LauraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Frieda, Nicholas and Shura
First words
The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571226124, Paperback)

Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction caused by the Iron Man. A trap is set for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction caused by the Iron Man. A trap is set for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world. Ages 12+.… (more)

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Average: (3.79)
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