Every now and again, a book comes across your radar that, upon reading, wheedles a way into your heart, and that was the case with me and Rafael Rosado's and Jorge Aguirre's Giants Beware! Published in 2012, ostensibly for children, but as with many an excellent work, with plenty to enjoy on multiple levels for all ages. In it, the the flame-mopped, scrappy Claudette resides in a town famous for both its giant-slaying and huge, giant-repelling stone walls. Despite, or perhaps due to, this rich history, the townspeople are now content to sit in their safe haven and no longer actively seek out giants, a development Claudette is not happy with. Raised on stories of ferocious feats and fights, she sets out to discover and slay a giant of her own, dragging along her culinary sensation of a little brother and best friend and feminist princess-in-waiting, Marie, to do what she has always dreamed of. The characterisation is great, the cartooning so lively and expressive, and it brims with personality, humour and verve; simply put, Giants Beware! is a superb comic. Even better, publishers First Second released it as a lovely, big, A4-sized book, to really show off the art and all the better to get stuck into (I believe it was later printed in a smaller, more regular size, also).
So I was thrilled when I saw that Aguirre and Rosado were working on a new Claudette adventure, this one titled Dragons Beware! which will hit shops this June. It seems there's no keeping Claudette down, and a real taste of adventure has only served to whet her appetite further. Setting out once again with her pal Marie and her little brother Gaston to right wrongs and fight evil -this time with a personal bent- Claudette is out to get the dragon who ate her father's legs...and his legendary sword. But as usual, nothing is quite as it seems... Even if I wasn't already excited for this book, I'm having a bit of a strong moment for more 'cartoony' cartooning; the sort that looks deceptively simple and easy, but manages to do and convey much with loose and expressive lines. The 8-page excerpt below looks like it's from the opening of the book, with Claudette re-telling the story of her father's tussle with the dragon, and it's illustrated in a different style to reflect the yarn being spun; the main art style of the book kicks in 4 pages later. I'd really urge you to get your hands on Giants Beware! if you haven't read it yet, especially if you have or know young children- that larger size book is great for reading together.