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The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence
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The Giant-Slayer

by Iain Lawrence

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*SPOILER* Laurie's friend Dickie comes down with polio and she visits him in the hospital where she meets other young polio patients. She entertains them during her regular visits by making up an adventure story about little Jimmy the giant-slayer. Dickie and the other kids look forward to the unspooling of the story, seeing themselves in the characters that Laurie creates. But when Laurie herself comes down with polio and is unable to continue, the story comes to also symbolize the kids' hopes and dreams. It's more important than ever to them how the story will end. This was an imaginative melding of the polio epidemic with adventure story although sometimes the switching back and forth could get confusing. But Iain Lawrence is a great storyteller so that is a minor quibble. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
My 9 year old is one of those kids who gulps down books--sometimes I'm not sure she digests much, let alone even tastes them, before she's off to the next. But when she finished Giant-Slayer, she came to me in tears, and told me I had to read it.

I'm so glad I did. This is genuinely moving, and pulls you equally into both threads of the story, so that once they start getting mysteriously tangled, you're caught too. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
I read this book after a recommendation by Book Passage in Corte Madera, California. The book is about a girl named Laurie who grows up in the 1950s during an epidemic of Polio before the invention of the first polio vaccine. She is a compassionate friend to Dickie, a childhood buddy of hers whose condition of polio worsens. The mythology woven throughout the book is well-done, and helps to lift the reader to a hopeful note, despite the grittier elements of the story.

I especially recommend this book to anyone who has a child with an illness, or a sensitive child who is concerned for a friend. Definitely give the book a try. ( )
  Breton07 | Aug 17, 2012 |
A spellbinding story within a story. Fantasy and reality meet here and Lawrence blends them so magically. ( )
  StJohnBrebeuf | Dec 7, 2010 |
I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to hear my nine year olds opinion. It was a great way to learn about a terrible disease and I am not sure whether I enjoyed the parts in reality or fantasy more. Well written. I did show my daughter a picture of a child in an iron lung prior to her reading it so that she would have an easier time envisioning it. ( )
  delmas_coulee | Mar 16, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385733763, Hardcover)

A girl’s imagination transports polio-afflicted kids into a fantastic world.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When her eight-year-old neighbor is stricken with polio in 1955, eleven-year-old Laurie discovers that there is power in her imagination as she weaves a story during her visits with him and other patients confined to iron lung machines.

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