The Chronicles of Claudette: Giants Beware!, Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado

Giants Beware! (The Chronicles of Claudette)

Set against the rolling hills of pseudo-medieval France, Giants Beware! is the story of Claudette, a pint-size rapscallion who wears her hair short and her temper shorter. The daughter of the village blacksmith, Claudette has a singular ambition: to snuff out the neighborhood baby-feet-eating giant and destroy it. There are a few kinks in the would-be giant slayer’s plans, however. Her father, who was maimed fighting a dragon, makes light of her quest, considering it a child’s idle fancy. She also has to rally a pair of reluctant squires—an aspiring princess named Marie and her timorous younger brother, Gaston—to her cause, which she succeeds through some light chicanery.

The Chronicles of Claudette: Giants Beware!, Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado
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Written by Jorge Aguirre and illustrated by Rafael Rosado, Giants Beware! is a Franco-Belgian-esque comedic romp filled with saturated landscapes, visual slapstick, and the occasional poop joke. (The last comes courtesy of Valiant, Claudette’s vicious, if equally diminutive, pug.)

High-brow literature, this ain’t, but the story has a surprising amount of heart, as well.

When Claudette and Marie are captured by a bloodthirsty witch in the so-called “Forest of Death,” it falls to Gaston to rescue them. Wielding his sister’s wooden prop sword, Gaston blanches at the idea. “I’m just a coward,” he whimpers.

The Chronicles of Claudette: Giants Beware!, Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado
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Tied up with rope and submerged in a cauldron, Claudette manages to give him her version of the pep talk: “Being brave means that even if you are scared, you can still look fear in the eyes and tell it…I’m going to kick your ever-lovin’ butt!”

At its crux, Giants Beware! is a story about defying expectations.

It isn’t much, but it works.

At its crux, Giants Beware! is a story about defying expectations. Claudette refuses to be limited by her gender or size. Marie, far from a flighty preener, turns out to be a canny diplomat. Gaston, though he longs to learn swordmaking from his father, also harbors dreams of becoming a pastry chef.

As for that baby-feet-eating giant, its ill repute might just be a victim of shoddy fact-checking.

Appearances are only skin deep, after all.

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Giants Beware!
Written by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado
208 pp. First Second. $14.99.
(Graphic novel; ages 7-10)

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