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ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Brett Helquist

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, ©2009

Material: paperback

Summary: When Odd was 10, his father was lost at sea. He tried to be like his father, but after a tree fell on his leg, he was crippled. After that, Odd kept mostly to himself, even after his mother married Fat Elfred of Midgard. In that year when Winter wouldn't let go, and everyone was getting on everyone else's nerves, Odd made a decision. He left and moved to his father's old hut. On that first morning of his solitary life, Odd met a fox, bear, and eagle. Well, they weren't *really* a fox, bear, and eagle. They were the gods Loki, Loki, and Odin. The Frost Giant had tricked them, transformed them into animals, and exiled them to Midgard. Worst of all, winter would never end. Odd couldn't abide that idea, so he and his animal friends set out to reclaim Asgard. This is an illustrated chapter book fantasy / fairy tale for all ages.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12

Interest Level: 8 to 10

Reading Level: 2.5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved the classic feel of this book. It is a cross between a fairy tale (with a male main character!) and a fable (animals and man learning life lessons). What I particularly love is how Gaiman 'lengthened' the story and added descriptive details that engage the imagination, but are often left out of other fables.

Pros: Readers who love classic, timeless stories will love Odd. The story has a fairy tale feel, with the princess as the evil force.

Cons: This is a wonderful story for all ages, and is perfectly suitable for children 5 to 8. That said, the broad vocabulary may require you to stop and explain concepts or cultures kids where kids lack familiarity.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Odd and the Frost Giants is a story that will have different meaning at different ages. It is a chapter book that you can read in pieces, but it is also a book that older readers will easily devour in one night.

If You Liked This Book, Try: GRANDMOTHERS' STORIES; Wise Woman Tales from Many Cultures   ONE VOICE, PLEASE; Favorite Read-Aloud Stories   DRAGON, DRAGON: AND OTHER TALES

Educational Themes: This is a wonderful example of the fairy tale and fable genres. It is a great choice for introducing children to these kinds of stories, and their foundation (i.e., how they convey life lessons). As we learn early in the book, this isn't the first time the gods have been transformed into animals. Invite older children to write the next chapter: what 'trick' or event befalls the trio and (based on what we know of their character from this story) what animals will they become.

Notes: The publisher donated an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, fantasy, fairy tale, fable

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2015

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