"The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
How far had he walked? Nobody knows. Where had he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows.
Taller than a house, the Iron Man stood at the top of the cliff, on the very brink, in the darkness.
The wind sang through his iron fingers, His great iron head, shaped like a dustbin but as big as a bedroom, slowly turned to the right, slowly turned to the left. His iron ears turned, this way, that way. He was hearing the sea. His eyes, like headlamps, glowed white, then red, then infrared, searching the sea. Never before had the Iron Man seen the sea.
He swayed in the strong wind that pressed against his back. He swayed forward, on the brink of the high cliff..."
I loved this book.
(As an aside, If you think you know the story, having watched the animated Iron Giant film, rest assured that it is nothing like this tale.)
The Iron Man was the next in the rotation of bed time stories for my 8 year old son and suggested to me by my wife, who set us up by saying that it probably had one of the best and most thrilling openings of a children's story book that she knew. She wasn't wrong. And, we've only begun in the extract above, it builds and grows.
Written in beautifully poetic style the five chapters take you on a brief journey into the world where misunderstanding, heroism and fantasy pull you as a reader through the pages. The Iron Man appears suddenly as we discover what makes him unique and strange. Hostile and helpful relationships are forged between him and the local community. A small boy befriends him and finally, the whole world looks to him to avoid catastrophe. Although science fiction, it felt more like a strange fairy tale.
It was a perfect bedtime story book. My only sadness was that it is a short book, readable in just a few sessions.