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Giants and Trolls


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About the Author

Alice Peebles is an editor and writer specializing in the arts and humanities for children. She lives in London, England. Nigel Chilvers is a digital illustrator based in the United Kingdom. He has illustrated numerous children's books.


"How gory and repulsive are the beastly creatures of the world's mythology? The 10 bloodthirsty giants in each of these slim sets appear in a ranked scheme and ascending order. They're scored 'from 1 to 10 for each of five categories: Strength, Repulsiveness, Special Powers, Ferocity and Invincibility.' Two-page entries on each creature, which lead up to the score, include a short anecdotal story, suggested ways to defeat the beast, and an orange inset describing origins of the myth. Bold, digitally created visuals feature plenty of fangs and claws, blood and guts, and horrific mixes of human/animal figures. Sixteen of the 40 monsters are from Greek mythology, and another eight are of Norse origin. Others span the world widely. These titles lack some of the customary nonfiction features. Sources aren't listed, and there are no bibliographies or websites recommended. Each book ends with a 'Rogue's Gallery' that depicts and briefly describes each of the characters, arranged in reverse order from top to lowest score on the beastly scale. Three bits of added discussion on related topics appear on the final two pages. VERDICT: Probably most interesting to readers of horror, these might occasionally spark interest in mythology."--School Library Journal, Series Made Simple


"In one of four titles kicking off the Mythical Beasts series, Peebles introduces 10 of the 'biggest, meanest and most bloodthirsty creatures that stomped the world in ancient times, ' ranking them in terms of strength, repulsiveness, ferocity, and other categories. Brief but gruesome narratives ('Licking his lips with a black tongue, King Troll grabbed the man and prepared to roast him on the fire') mirror the action in Chilvers's digital collages, which lavish attention on the monsters' gleaming fangs, bulging muscles, and misshapen features. Most hail from Greek and Norse myth (Odysseus's brushes with one-eyed Polyphemus and man-eating Laestrygonians are mentioned), and Peebles includes tips for readers who might face these creatures in the wild (hint: have salt or an arrow dipped in hydra blood handy)."--Publishers Weekly


"Ten monsters from myth and legend take a bow--each furnished with competitive scores in five monstrous characteristics and a portrait in full, lurid melodramaticolor. Arranged 10th to first on a cumulated 'Beast Power' rating based on Strength, Repulsiveness, Special Powers, Ferocity, and Invincibility, each creature except the glowering Echidna (who resembles Patti Smith in a giant snake outfit) is posed in Chilvers' painted scenes looming out of mist or wave, stupendous dentifrice on full display, in the midst of a ferocious attack. Peebles begins each profile with a perfunctory scenario ('A cloud of fear hung over the village. For months an Oni had been lurking by the village gates...'). She then explains how each monster was or might be defeated and identifies the culture or a literary work with which it is associated. Following a recapitulative 'Rogues' Gallery, ' she closes with notes on related subjects, such as the dragon Fafnir's cursed golden ring. Readers will find this bestiary thrilling edutainment, though they are sure to wonder how the Balinese Leyak, which are 'disembodied heads propelled by the pulsating movement of their own entrails, ' only come in as No. 9. The co-published Giants and Trolls (a third new volume in the series, Mighty Mutants, was not seen) offers similar draws, though Cuchulain is an odd choice for inclusion. Hits the sweet spot between chortles and choked screams."--Kirkus Reviews


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