One of my favorite animated films is The Iron Giant so when I discovered that it was based off of a book by the same name...well I had to read it didn't I? Ted Hughes, late poet laureate, created something truly special with this book. It's incredibly short (79 pages to be exact) but so much is crammed within those pages that it spoke more to me than some books three times that length. It is the tale of an Iron Giant/Man who arrives in a small town and begins wreaking havoc among the farmers by eating all of their metal machinery. At first, the farmers believe he is a monster and they trap him in a pit. However, when he escapes a little boy named Hogarth speaks upon the Iron Giant's behalf and comes up with a compromise. For a time, there is peace. And then (here's where the movie deviates) a creature born from a star lands on Australia. This creature is gigantic and shaped like a dragon and it demands to be fed living things. The people of earth decide to go to war against this creature instead. (Remember this is a "children's" book and it has already tackled prejudice (the farmers against the Iron Giant) and now it's taking human beings predilection for warfare head-on.) The weapons unleashed are unparalleled in their ferocity and yet the creature only smiles. It delivers an ultimatum and the people of earth are terrified. Once again, Hogarth (and yet just like a children's book to put the power in the hands of a child) has an idea. He asks the Iron Giant for help. A challenge of strength is issued which the dragon creature accepts.
I don't want to give away the ending. In fact, I feel slightly bad having said as much as I already have. I do hope you'll check this book out. It's worth your time (it took me no time at all to read it), I promise. It's lauded as an exceptionally brilliant read for a reason. There is so much to be gleaned from the story.