Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Odd and the Frost Giants

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Brett Helquist

Published in October by HarperCollins this book follows the adventures of Odd, a young viking growing up in Norway a long time ago. Odd is in fact odd, although that is not what his name means. He loses his father before he is ten and then suffers a terrible accident in which the bones of his right leg are shattered leaving him crippled. Once his mother remarries Odd spends as much time as he can away from home to get away from his stepfather. One winter just when spring should have arrived, it didn't, and Odd leaves his village to escape. He goes to his father's old logging cabin deep in the woods and there his adventure begins when he meets a fox, bear, and eagle that can speak. The animals are actually the gods Loki, Thor, and Odin who were turned into animals and banished from Asgard by the Frost Giant. Odd decides to try and help the gods return home and get their land and bodies back. And hopefully be able to bring spring to his world.

I have long been a fan of Neil Gaiman's work and I was not disappointed by this book. In fact, I loved it. The chapters are a reasonable length for a third to fifth grade reader, and while some of the vocabulary might be a bit difficult most words can be figured out through context clues. The story moves quickly giving just enough background to set up the big adventure. Our hero, Odd, is very likable and easy to relate to for boys or girls. He uses his mind in a society where brawn was considered to be everything. In my opinion is it good to have heroes who can think and reason rather than just fight their way out of trouble. I like that this story has a lot of accurate information about Norse mythology while still telling a its own narrative. I believe the author plans to write more Odd books and I could not be more excited to read what other adventures Odd will have.

No comments:

Post a Comment