A book about a small giant with a big heart,
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This review is from: Muncle Trogg (Paperback)
Sometimes a film comes out that makes me want to borrow a small child to go see it in the cinema. With my own children now taller than me in both cases, skulking into some animated adventure along with my wife feeling like we really should have grown up by now can be a humbling experience. Short of randomly claiming a couple of those small bodies as our own - effectively buying stranger's children pop-corn! - we either wait until the DVD comes out or hang our heads, flip up our collars so no-one can clock us and push through society's sensibilities about what denotes adult behaviour. Hey, perhaps it's society's sensibilities that are out-of-kilter!
Muncle Trogg makes me want to have small children to read out loud too again just like Toy Story 3 made me want to have them to take to the cinema. I'm sure my two strapping lads would put up with it - 'well, if you must dad!' - but it wouldn't be a perfect storybook moment. You'd want a 5 - 9 year old, hanging on your every word as you did the giant, gruff voices and slammed and banged and groaned and left them waiting on cliff-hanger chapters until next time ('Please dad, just one more chapter!). Muncle Trogg is a gorgeous children's book which would appeal to boys and girls alike. There's dragons and reading and heroics for the girls, there's warts, worms and fights for the boys. Muncle is a giant, the smallest giant in the world. He lives in Mount Grumble with all of the other giants who've been hidden away there since the smallings (humans) developed the technology (magic fire sticks aka guns!) to deal with their constant incursions.
Muncle Trogg as a story has everything any self-respecting child, both small and big, would want. There's fast-paced action, there's slimy worms and slugs, there's warts and hair and dragons and poo. There's also heroics and bullies and the necessary happily ever after. Muncle comes from a very poor family and he's a pretty rubbish giant. He's missed lots of school and is a laughing stock amongst much of the giant community because he is so small. He's about to fail his Giant Examinations and he has no idea what he wants to do for a living. Muncle, as we expect of our eponymous heroes in our fables and fairy stories, is feisty, clever and sees much that others don't. He is also caring and empathetic, qualities that other giants see as weaknesses, but which turn out - told you there was a happy ending - to be his most important features.
Muncle Trogg is a great creation in a long tradition of great children's characters. His exploits in this book are short but sweet and packing so much action if you were reading it out loud there'd be times when you'd need to take a breath! Muncle isn't pretty or powerful, but he has the luck of the hero and the enormous benefit of having a higher IQ than virtually everyone around him, except perhaps for the human child in the story or his mother.
I would heartily recommend this story for children of all ages, if you don't have one to read too, borrow one, although it's probably best to ask first!
A wonderful modern fairy story, suffused with slams, crashes and slapstick and big-hearted humour that will get them laughing out loud. And as you would expect from a fable, a great moral too.
**** (Four stars)
PS - Other Muncle Trogg stories are available; Muncle Trogg and The Flying Donkey.
PPS - I read this book for my "Art of Story" Golden Egg course, but I think I would have read it anyone :)