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The Giant Killer Review by Megan Russell

Lamplighter Publishing
Lamplighter Ministries International
23 State Street
Mount Morris, NY 14510

I recently read aloud to my children a wonderful book called, The Giant Killer, written by Charlotte Maria Rucker, under the pseudonym A.L.O.E. (A Lady of England). This book was written in 1845 and is part of the Lamplighter Collection, a collection of rare books from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that have been printed in beautiful hardcover collector’s format. The Giant Killer is a black hardcover book with gold embossing on the cover and side. It is truly a book that will look wonderful on a bookshelf! Not only that, it is an exciting story that will captivate yourself and your children as you read it.

Twin boys named Constantine and Adolphus have been sent to stay with the Roby family. Mr. Roby is going to tutor the boys alongside his own son, Aleck. The Roby’s also have two younger daughters, Bertha and Laura. Constantine and Adolphus are spoiled boys that show no consideration or gratitude to the Roby’s. They are constantly provoking Aleck, Bertha and Laura, even to the point of a physical altercation between Aleck and Constantine. The Roby children are beside themselves trying to understand how the twins can be so rude. Laura calls them “bad, bad boys”!

Mrs. Roby decides to tell them a story called, The Giant Killer. This story is about a noble knight named Fides who is on a mission to kill the giants that he encounters. Fides has armor given to him by his King, the best of which is his sword. The giants that he must kill are the Giants of Sloth, Selfishness, Untruth, Hate, and Pride. The lovely Conscience that appears from time to time helps Fides to stay on the right path and gives him advice when he needs it. Fides learns that being kind to others can conquer the fount of anger, that remembering our past can help us not to make the same mistakes again, and that being thankful and showing gratitude to others can keep us from being prideful. Throughout the story, the Roby children and the twins fight many of these giants in their own lives. Several different trials test the children’s strength and show them what is truly inside their own hearts.

My children greatly enjoyed listening to this book. I read a chapter or two each day aloud to each of them, whose ages range from 4 to 14 years old. My older children got more out of the story, but my little ones were paying closer attention that I realized. After fighting with his 6 year old brother over a toy, my 4 year old allowed his brother to play with it. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “I’m fighting the giants, Mama.” That made my heart soar! The phrase “fighting the giants” is used by my children and I quite often now. When one of us is tempted to give in to sin, one of us will remind the other to “fight the giants” inside of us.

The Giant Killer was written in the 1800’s, so the language and style of writing is a bit different that my children and I were used to reading. Several times we had to stop reading and look up a word that was unfamiliar to us, such as “indolence” (which means laziness). We did enjoy the style of writing, and I found it was so beautiful to read aloud. My children grew accustomed to the fancy words, long sentence structure, and old-fashioned way of speaking. We felt like we “knew” the characters in the book, as we rejoiced with their triumphs and mourned with their failures.

I highly recommend this book to families. It was a wonderful springboard for discussion for us. It works great as a family devotion. It will inspire, encourage, and motivate your children to recognize the enemy – Satan – and his giants – sin, as well as show them how we can kill these giants inside of us. My favorite quote from the book was spoken by Mrs. Roby and I have re-read it to my children several times – “You would not go to meet an enemy blindfold? You must see him before you can fight him; you must know your faults before you can subdue them.”

-Product review by Megan Russell, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017