Review: The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

I love the beginning of The Iron Man where Hughes writes 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. There is such style to his writing, a wonderful rhythm and lyrical feel, and he creates a clever mix of emotions about the Iron Man who is both terrifying and yet also, somehow, fragile.

I first read this book many years ago at Primary school, and it hasn’t lost any of its charm over the years. At times it feels like science fiction; this strange, enormous metal man who falls off a cliff, breaking into pieces and then slowly puts himself back together, his hand crawling around looking for his eye, then searching for the rest of his body piece by piece. At other times it feels like some sort of folklore fairytale, with the space-bat-angel-dragon threatening the world, and the people of the world relying on the Iron Man’s bravery and intelligence in thwarting him. I love how poetic the language feels, for example as Hughes describes the Iron Man falling apart His great iron ears fell off and his eyes fell out. His great iron head fell off. All the separate pieces tumbled, scattered, crashing, bumping, clanging, down on to the rocky beach far below. A few rocks tumbled with him. Then silence. The language makes it a joy to read aloud, but it also works perfectly as a story to be read alone by a confident reader.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.


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