Rereading: ARE ALL THE GIANTS DEAD? by Mary Norton

Best known for her Borrowers books, and Bedknob and Broomstick, this book by Mary Norton is unlike the others, but equally delightful.

James, an English boy who likes science fiction, has a magical friend, a woman named Mildred, who appears to him while he’s asleep, and invites him along on fairy tale adventures. Mildred is a sort of gossip columnist for fairy tale characters, who live in a fanciful world containing castles and royalty as well as goatherds and innkeepers. They are all part of some fairy tale, sometimes more than one. This time, Mildred brings him to the castle shared by Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and their husbands, where he meets a princess, Dulcibel, who is fated to marry a frog prince, something she’s frightened about. Mildred and James then travel through a forest to a village where James is put into the care of two innkeepers, both named Jack. You might guess from the book’s title which Jacks those are. While Mildred is away at a royal wedding, James gets into all kinds of trouble and adventures with Dulcibel, who has run away from her castle, and before long the last of the giants is on their trail.

Clever and fun, though not as good as Norton’s other books. Wonderful illustrations by Brian Froud, though. Recommended.

Are All the Giants Dead by Mary Norton

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