The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Iain Lawrence

See more books from this Author
Iain Lawrence is the author of many acclaimed novels.
Published October 26, 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 306 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Giant-Slayer

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

When Laurie’s only friend in the world, Dickie Espinosa, contracts polio and ends up in an iron lung, she sneaks off to the hospital and begins to tell her tragically captive audience a fantastical story about a six-ton giant named Collosso and the boy who was born to slay him—populating her rich...

| Read Full Review of The Giant-Slayer

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

Laurie's ever-more-dramatic narrative eventually becomes so entwined with the emotional lives of the "polios," that, when she suddenly cannot finish the tale, they take turns carrying on the adventure.

Dec 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Giant-Slayer

The Globe and Mail

See more reviews from this publication

Iain Lawrence's new novel, The Giant-Slayer, is a wonderful exploration of the power of the imagination and of how stories shape our lives as much as our lives shape the stories that we tell.

Nov 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Giant-Slayer


Yet when taken as a whole, the giants work in their own unusual way — they’re not believably realistic in the conventional sense, but at the same time it’s a fairy tale in every sense of the word, and so it’s easy to forgive their obvious artificiality.

| Read Full Review of The Giant-Slayer

Kidz World

Laurie Valentine’s father and nanny lived in constant fear that Laurie would contract the degenerating disease.

Dec 22 2009 | Read Full Review of The Giant-Slayer

Reader Rating for The Giant-Slayer

An aggregated and normalized score based on 28 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review