Suggested Teaching Resources for Ted Hughes’s The Iron Giant

15 May

By Gloria Hernandez and Diego Jauregui

Hughes, Ted. ‘The Iron Man’ (excerpt). BBC News. BBC. Web. 09 Mar. 2012.  <>.

BBC iron man animation

This stop motion animation narrates the first few pages of The Iron Man and really captures the mystery of the giant. The narrator gives a great reading and really catches the tempo and poetic essence of Hughes’s writing style. The animation makes the giant seem menacing but also obviously lost and confused. When he falls from the cliff, the narrator’s voice rises in volume and the fall is not slowed down in any way. A great animation to watch once the reader has finished reading the book and is itching for more.  The website also lists teaching ideas.


Hughes, Ted. The Iron Woman. New York: Dial Books, 1995. Print.

The Iron Woman is a 1980’s sequel to The Iron Man that wasn’t published until 1993. The Iron Woman does not have much in common with The Iron Man, but the stories are connected as Hogarth and the giant play a small role. The protagonist of the novella is Lucy, a little girl who speaks to the iron woman. She plays the Hogarth role in that she is the link between the iron woman and the humans. There is more of an environmental agenda in this story, with the iron woman speaking for the creatures in the rivers. The Iron Woman manages to keep the same mood of The Iron Giant with clear descriptions, an imaginative storyline, and a fairy tale-esque feeling.


The Iron Giant. Prod. Pete Townshend, Des McAnuff, Allison Abbate, and John Walker. Dir. BradBird. Perf. Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr. and, Jennifer Aniston. DVD. Warner Bros., 1999.

The Iron Giant, directed by Brad Bird, is the animated movie adaptation of Ted Hughes’s story, The Iron Man. Released in 1999, it was met with much acclaim but did poorly in the box office. The director took huge liberties in this movie adaptation. Unlike the novel, which focuses primarily on the giant’s interaction with humanity as a whole, the main focus of the film is the friendship between Hogarth and the giant. The movie also introduces romance and military plots not found in the novel. Despite these heavy changes, Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant still manages to pay homage to Ted Hughes’s novel, especially with regard to both texts’ themes of redemption.


Miller, Prairie. The Iron Giant: Interview with Brad Bird. Rye, United States, Rye:, 1999. Ethnic
 NewsWatch. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

iron man escapes from the pit!

In this interview, Brad Bird describes his experience with and vision for The Iron Giant, a movie based on Ted Hughes’s novel, The Iron Giant. Brad Bird gives his reasoning for taking the story’s setting to America, as well as for placing it in the 1950s. His inspiration for the movie was the launch of Sputnik and the famous space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The movie’s plot came from Brad Bird’s vision of a little boy and his robot and the friendship which blossomed from their fateful meeting. The interview also explains Bird’svision for creating an animated film in which the audience can see and feel the same emotions one might feel while watching a live action film.


Paul, Lissa. “The Return Of The Iron Man.” Horn Book Magazine 76.2 (2000): 218-225.  Professional Development Collection. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.

In this article, Paul reviews both Hughes’s The Iron Man and Bird’s animated movie adaptation of Hughes’s book. Hughes’s The Iron Man was subtitled “A Story in Five Nights,” with each night being a different section of the book. The article gives a brief summary of each section. The article then gives background information on the novel, such as Hughes’s motivation for writing it. The author then describes the animated movie and discusses the similarities and differences between the two versions. Paul also discusses and interprets the significance of the name change from The Iron Man to The Iron Giant.


Skea, Ann. “Ted Hughes Homepage.” Ted Hughes Homepage. Ann Skea. Web. 09 Apr. 2012.  <>.

The Ted Hughes Website is a site full of links to gain more information about Ted Hughes. The site offers useful links, like a publication timeline, which lists Hughes’s works in chronological order. Other links offer Ann Skea’s reviews and explanations of Ted Hughes’s works.  Such articles include “Creatures of Light,” which explains why and how Ted Hughes used magic in his poetry and “Ted Hughes and Crow,” which discusses Crow and Crow’s role as a Trickster figure. It also includes interviews with Ted Hughes in which he explains some of his works.


“The Ted Hughes Society.” The Ted Hughes Society. Ed. Edward Hadley. Faber & Faber. Web.  15 Mar. 2012.  <>.

The Ted Hughes Society website was created by Ted Hughes’s fans, and it discusses some of his poems, books, and plays. This site offers some quick background information on Ted Hughes and lists some of his works. Within the site is a tab labeled “Life,” in which one can find out more about Ted Hughes. Along with this tab are others such as “Poetry,” “Prose,” “Translations,” and “Plays.” The “Iron Man” tab within “Prose” discusses the themes Hughes included in the novel and explains why he changed his title from the original, The Iron Man.

A Tribute To The Poet Ted Hughes. Dir. Mishima1970. YouTube. YouTube, 21 Oct. 2006. Web.  09 Mar. 2012. <>.

This video goes into a brief yet descriptive history of Ted Hughes. He was a renowned poet, children’s author, and translator of plays. The video explains the success of his writings and his most popular children’s novel, The Iron Man, otherwise known as The Iron Giant. Another popular book he published was Birthday Letters, a book of poems he wrote after his wife’s suicide. The video explains that Hughes wrote Birthday Letters to help clear his name since many of his wife’s fans though he was to blame for her suicide. The book was written in her memory and also dedicated to their children.


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