Barefoot Helen and the Giants
by Andy Jones
illustrated by Katie Brosnan
Included in the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens (Autumn 2020)
Included in the Globe and Mail's 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Young Readers
Did you ever hear of ‘GIANTS’? Yeah? But these are not the friendly giants of these days, they’re the cruel killer-giants of them days, and Helen has heard many stories about these very giants, how they have killed and eaten hundreds of people and destroyed the homes and farms of many more. ....
Helen is a fine hand with a slingshot, and more than at home in the woods. After all, she was raised by bears. When she stumbles upon three evil giants, she hatches the perfect plan to rid the land of them. Well, almost perfect….
Andy Jones’s hilarious new folktale adaptation/middle reader is jam-packed with adventure and tales of adventure. It celebrates brave and resourceful girls, blended families, and storytelling itself, and features delightfully quirky illustrations by Katie Brosnan.
What folks are saying
"Warning: Barefoot Helen and the Giants is not your average folktale. With great humour and wit, Jones offers readers something different … something beautifully twisted and wickedly delightful. An engaging and lively read, Barefoot Helen and the Giants is sure to appeal to kids and adults alike."
~ Heather Smith, author of Ebb and Flow, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, and The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden
"The perfect book if you love stories about clever girls who think on their feet, nasty greedy giants, and kings and princesses. Raised by bears, found by a lonely couple who always wished for a child and smart as a whip, Helen might only have nine toes (that's a story in itself as you'll find out!) but she's brave, smart and not willing to let giants get the better of her. Find out what happens when she strikes out on her own in this hilarious story, based on classic folktales but with some wonderful twists. Brosnan's illustrations are every bit as much fun as the outrageous story that Jones spins."
~ Jeffrey Canton, The Globe and Mail (Read the full review.)
"Jones takes the characters on a fast-paced adventure that has a bit of magic and a lot of love and guts. He gives readers a few cues to what will happen but nevertheless surprises them pleasantly at every step of the way. His modern twist to Helen's happiness raises the stakes for this entertaining fairy tale which should please children as a read-aloud."
~ Harriet Zaidman, CM: Canadian Review of Materials (Read the full review.)
"...this earthy, quirky, humorous version blends traditional folktale elements with the contemporary spin of a strong female heroine who lives happily-ever-after with the princess in a 's'blendid' family.' What begins as a single story evolves into stories within stories, pulled together in a surprising climax. Striking, original illustrations, worked in black and white as well as vibrant color, capture the fierce dramatic action....A twisted tall tale told with verbal and visual bravado." ~ Kirkus Reviews (Read the full review.)
"Jones has a spot-on cadence to the words throughout. ... And Katie Brosnan's expressive imagery keeps pace, ranging from full page portrayals in a natural bouncy palette to smaller monochromatic cameos and framings."
~ Joan Sullivan, The Telegram (Read the full review.)