The Giant Under The Snow

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The Giant Under The Snow
The Giant Under The Snow (original cover).jpg
First edition cover (Puffin reprint 1971)
Author John Gordon
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Fantasy adventure
Publisher Hutchinson
Harper & Row (US)
Puffin Books
Orion Children's Books
Publication date
October 1968
Media type Hardcover/Paperback
eBook (EPUB DRM)
Kindle edition
Pages 184 pp
ISBN 978-0-09-088370-7
OCLC 16189510
Followed by Ride The Wind

The Giant Under The Snow is a children's fantasy adventure novel by John Gordon. First published in 1968, the story tells the tale of three school friends who discover an ancient treasure and become embroiled in the final act of an epic battle of good against evil. It was John Gordon's debut novel and has been published in at least four languages.[1] In 1981 the book was adapted into a five part series on BBC Radio 4, read by Martin Jarvis and broadcast on 28 December 1981.[2]

A feature-length film of the book is currently in the pre-production stage.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

On a school field trip, Jonk Winters, an independent-minded teenage girl, is attacked by a large black dog whilst exploring the nearby woods where she has found a mysterious and rather old buckle. She is rescued from the dog by a woman named Elizabeth Goodenough, who possesses magical powers. After she goes home, Jonk is stalked by the dog and its curious stone-faced master. Jonk's friend Bill has read of a local legend that describes how a Green Man once strode across the countryside from Wiltshire to East Anglia. Believing the legend is the key to understanding Jonk's experience in the woods, Jonk, Bill and their rather sceptical friend Arf set out to solve the riddle of the Green Man.

It soon becomes apparent that the stone-faced man is an ancient warlord who needs the golden buckle to regain his malevolent power. The buckle is the key to victory and the trio soon find themselves under attack from the minions of the warlord, the terrifying "leather men", and are relentlessly followed by the black dog. However, cleverly guided by Elizabeth and aided by the gift of flight, Jonk and her friends determine to defeat the warlord and his sinister allies at any cost.

1989 sequel[edit]

A little known sequel to The Giant Under The Snow called Ride The Wind was published in 1989 by Bodley Head Children's Books.[4] The golden treasure Jonk and Bill discovered in the first book is under threat again and it is the Leather Men who are after it. Jonk and Bill ride the wind once more to where the Warlord waits. The book was dedicated to Margaret Clark.

2006 revised edition[edit]

2006 cover by Geoff Taylor

Due to the book's popularity, Orion Children's Books decided to republish The Giant Under The Snow in April 2006.[5] The revised edition had a new cover design by fantasy artist Geoff Taylor and new chapter head illustrations by Gary Blythe. Since 1968 the original story has remained fairly timeless; however, it was deemed necessary for the author to make some minor updates to the language (e.g. changing "gym shoes" to "trainers"). John Gordon also took the opportunity to clarify the origin of the Green Man in relevant chapters.

Film adaptation[edit]

In February 2015 it was announced by Variety magazine that Michael Caton-Jones is set to direct a live-action movie of the book under the same name.[6] Filming was due to commence in October 2015 however in February 2016 the project's Facebook page stated: "Investment still needed for what's going to be an amazing film.... Production starts in 2017....".[7]


External links[edit]