Ivan the Giant
Ivan the Giant
by Philip A. Creurer
Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction
Ivan Morrow has spent his short life waiting for things to happen. Now something has happened. An unknown ancestor has entrusted him with something of great value and it has gone missing. But who stole it and how to get it back? He's grown extraordinarily over the last year since turning eleven, but his mind is stuck in a kid-sized brain. Now he must match wits with a desperate thief if he is to honour the trust placed in him by his distant relative.
Leese took a few more samples of documents from her backpack. They were in a clear plastic folder separated in individual pockets like a silent accordion. She had a selection of wills, she stated matter-of-factly, the human being’s attempt to prolong life after life has ebbed, wreaking havoc or charity according to strictures of justice or caprice, wherever an errant heart beat its last retreat. Why do we always insist on having the last word? “Look, this one left everything to a niece in Guatemala…” The writing was not easily read. It was formal with curved capitals and forward leaning letters that somehow ran together while fighting to remain distinct. Great letters three lines high began significant phrases, the whole thing officiously impressed with a great disc of red wax sealed by the letter “J” in an elaborate setting of wavy lines and curly ends. “J” obviously had thought a lot about what would go on after he had ceased gracing the Earth with his worthy presence. He felt the weight of his responsibility to hold the world together from the grave and dispense his beneficent suzerainty from the throne of a granite tombstone. Well, it was true his parchment had made it into history for the general edification of succeeding generations, so maybe he had been on to something after all.
I looked at my stamps that had raced around the world in the last hundred years, spreading news of the new world to the old, raising hope again in an age of cynicism, and boasting of the progress of human effort. It didn’t change the fact that I still didn’t know where Papua New Guinea was. But that was my fault, I guess. I took an atlas off the back shelf in the classroom and shifted through its pages littered with orange and blue and red. Papua New Guinea was colonized when ships were the vessels of discovery, and I sailed my finger over the great reaches of blue, condensed and distorted to fit on a large page. The pilgrims of adventure would have tucked away a cargo of sheets of paper, parchment, wax, and stamps, all necessary to the exploration of new lands and the communication of novelty to the wearied world they had left behind. Stamp collecting was opening up a horizon of endless vistas, imperceptible until now in the fog of my listless brain. An unaccustomed stirring of adventure pulled somewhere from within.
Ivan the Giant is a story that is somewhat relatable for others in his age category of 11 years old. The story itself is told well and it held my attention. However, I felt the chapters seemed a bit lengthy for a Middle Grade/Young Adult book.
As part of a class assignment, Ivan is to come up with a hobby. He chooses stamp collecting, without even knowing anything about it. Conveniently, he is given a very rare, very valuable stamp to start off his collection. Entrusted with the care of this stamp, Ivan takes it to Show and Tell day at school where the stamp is stolen and replaced with a forged copy. Ivan and his two friends, along with Mr Carruthers (a local antiques shop owner) work together to figure out who stole the stamp.
While the plot is somewhat unbelievable, it is told well, and the characters are quite likeable.
I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All thoughts contained herein are my own.
About The Author
Philip Creurer has spent a large part of his life studying at home in Canada and abroad in France and Germany. From his origins in rural Saskatchewan, he returned to the Canadian Prairies in 2013. Long inspired by his English teachers who initiated the Prairie Writers' Workshop in his high school, he took up the passion of his younger years and began writing fiction again in his fifties. The Canadian Prairies form an expansive canvas from which his ideas and his characters arise. Philip lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
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