George, Jessica Day. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2008. ISBN 9781599901091. $16.95. 336 p.
Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
Reading Level: Intermediate, Young adult
Genre: Fantasy stories;
Subject: Folklore--Norway--Juvenile fiction; Fairy tales--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
The Lass has been given the ability to understand animals, so when a great white bear appears at the door of her family home she understands that he wants her to live with him for one year. Seeing this as an opportunity to lift her family out of poverty she goes with the bear to his palace of ice where she is immediately engrossed in a horrible enchantment. With the help of the palace's unique servants and carvings in a cryptic language the Lass is able to uncover some of a devious troll princess's curse, but succumbing to her curiosity before the designated time breaks the enchantment and the bear and the palace are swept away. Left alone it is up to the Lass to shoulder the quest to rescue her true love and assisted by others, such as the four winds, to defeat the troll princess.
Based on the Norwegian folktale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” George has crafted an unsurpassed fairy tale retelling. Solidly entrenched in the original yet with unique elements that give the tale flavor and depth, each plot element and character is complete and interesting. The Lass is a wonderfully endearing character that readers will cheer for as she completes her complicated quest. Peppered with Norwegian and Old Norse words and phrases the text conveys the setting in a way perfectly crafted to honor the heritage of the original tale. Even though the pacing is not always even readers will certainly be hooked from first word to the triumphant end of this outstanding novel.
Volume 28, no. 3 (Jan/Feb 2008)
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