I’ve been busy these last couple of weeks filling my winter break with books and planning for my final semester of school. I can’t believe I’m finally approaching the finish line! I have a lot of good things happening and will have exciting news coming to the blog in the next few weeks.
At the moment, I’d like to get back to what I love most – reading! – and share a new review with you. Last year, I was fortunate to discover many new wonderful authors, one of whom I have now had the pleasure to read twice. I just finished a new book by author Gita V. Reddy titled Tara and the Giant Queen. Ms. Reddy has written several books for children, and if you missed my review of Hunt for the Horseman last year, you can read it here.
Tara and the Giant Queen is a fantasy story for young readers. It is whimsical, and I found Giant Land reminiscent of the land of Narnia (favorite stories of mine!). This was a unique story with an imaginative setting. Giant Land is made up of various kingdoms, each of which is named after a different colored set of mountains – Land of the Purple Mountains, Land of the Red Mountains, etc. These names paint a vivid and exciting place for imaginations to run wild.
The story opens with a young girl named Tara who is on a cruise ship with her parents when a storm suddenly blows upon them. In her attempt to escape via lifeboat, she ends up bobbing around the swirling seas, ultimately ending up on an unfamiliar, yet inviting island. Tara quickly discovers that she has somehow crossed over into another world – a world filled with giants, where she is at risk of death with every movement they make. Tara quickly finds herself in the care of the good Queen Cheetaka and Cheetaka’s son, Montek.
I found myself intrigued by this story right away because typically in stories about giants, fairies, or other fantasy storybook creatures, humans happen upon these creatures once they have somehow entered the human world and the story evolves from there. However, in Tara and the Giant Queen, this idea is reversed and it is humans who are believed to be made-up storybook creatures by the giants. Giant Land is thrown into chaos with Tara’s arrival and what follows is an entertaining adventure with good guys, bad guys, mystery, magic, fighting, and an ultimate triumph of good over evil.
I think this is a great story for young readers, though I will caution you that there is some violence. I picked up on some underlying messages in the story that are wonderful for young people, such as the value of children. I think Tara being so small amongst so many giants is the way children often feel. It is intimidating to have adults around you, speaking what sometimes sounds like a foreign language. I think Tara is a tiny hero who kids would relate to and enjoy. I also read into the story an anti-bullying message with the evil King Druaka and Prince Trimo and their cruel treatment of the citizens of their kingdoms.
Overall, this is a fun, imaginative, entertaining adventure story with good underlying messages for young readers. If you or your child enjoy fantasy stories, I would encourage you to give Tara and the Giant Queen a read!
Below are two of my favorite passages from the book:
“You are tiny but you are very brave.” – Tara and the Giant Queen
“I always thought the world was made up of giants, birds, animals, insects, and creatures that live in water. I believed human beings were storybook characters. But they are real. Tara’s world is real and she belongs in it. Tell me, Aaloma, is there a way to the human world?” – Tara and the Giant Queen