If We Were Giants

Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4847-7871-5
The importance of community and collaboration underlies this didactic, fast-paced adventure, by musician Matthews and children’s author Smith (Mr. 60%), about a 14-year-old girl with repressed trauma. Part one finds 10-year-old Kirra living with her family in bustling Zedu, hidden within a dormant volcano. As Helper to the Storyteller, Kirra is allowed to go Outside, where her father protects Zedu by spreading tales of volcanic danger to other villages. A well-intentioned decision by Kirra, however, leads to the village’s violent destruction by ruthless invaders called Takers. Four years later, Kirra, the only survivor, quietly lives among the peacefully coexisting but solitary Tree Folk. When the Takers return and threaten her new home, Kirra must find the strength to face her past and rally the treetop dwellers to collective action, working with friends to design and deploy fearsome, cleverly engineered wooden giants. An ambiguous ending with loose ends perhaps hints at a sequel, but readers will appreciate the triumphant growth of Kirra and her adoptive community, who choose to embrace the potential and pain of connection. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/23/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-368-06360-9
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