The Legend of the Dream Giants

Shadow Mountain. Mar. 2022. 240p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781629729862.
Gr 4-7–Berg is a young giant living in a world where giants and trolls are feared and hunted by humans. He spends his days wandering the woods and into farmsteads, and trading forest-jewels and sometimes unsolicited favors in exchange for vegetables scavenged from gardens. One day, Berg is attacked by a group of humans and suffers a gunshot wound; he is saved from drowning by a mysterious older giant. Thinking that his rescuer is the infamous Ünhold, who is greatly feared by the humans, Berg flees to a new, walled town. There he meets a young girl named Anya who teaches him about the star-blue-sand he discovered in his rescuer’s cave. Thinking that her welcome extends to all people in the town, Berg returns in the daylight only to be bound and chained, then pressed into service for Eisenstadt. This unique novel centers a young boy trying to navigate the world all on his own, not knowing the shifting rules of society or who can be trusted. The story takes the classic coming-of-age trope and transforms it into an untold fairytale. The secret of the star-blue-sand is slowly revealed alongside Berg’s mysterious origins. Interspersed throughout the book are wordless comic panels depicting Berg’s dreams of wolves/humans and their hunt and mistreatment of bears/giants.
VERDICT A beautiful and minimalist depiction of growing up and overcoming naivety. Put this into the hands of readers who enjoyed Ryan Andrews’s This Was Our Pact or Sarah Pennypacker’s Pax.

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