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East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon (Works in Translation) Hardcover – February 3, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This expansively illustrated edition of a well-loved epic romance, told here in Sir George Webbe Dasent's 1859 translation from the Norwegian, has lost none of its Gothic beauty and irresistible power. Dasent's translation is a real page-turner, told in a relaxed, conversational style that manages to be at once soothing and suspenseful. Readers will follow eagerly the plight of the beautiful, unnamed lassie, who must travel to a far-off kingdom to rescue her beloved prince from the clutches of an evil--and very ugly--bride. Only a rather swift resolution sounds a slightly jarring note in the otherwise engrossing tale. Lynch's sweeping paintings in dark greens and browns, with their large close-ups and exciting shifts in perspective, expertly capture the story's heroic scale. Several spreads are especially noteworthy: the dizzying bird's-eye-view of the heroine and her bear, dwarfed by the palace's massive architecture; the North Wind, rising from the mists like a bearded Old Testament patriarch, carrying the speck of a girl on his back as the seas roil below. The book's lavish endpapers, in the style of an Old World cartographer, point the way to this enticing kingdom east o' the sun and west o' the moon. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-7-- Outstanding illustrations, topnotch page design, and a marvelous story make this the definitive picture book version of this beloved Norwegian folktale. When a poor girl becomes the reluctant guest of a white bear, she discovers he's actually a prince under a spell. But her discovery has dire consequences--now he must marry a troll princess. It is only through the girl's love and persistence that he is saved from this disastrous marriage. With its language both economic and evocative, Dasent's translation is the ideal text for Lynch's sumptuous watercolor illustrations. Using layer upon layer of transparent washes, he has produced highly detailed, realistic illustrations that complement but never overwhelm the story. The easily read text is set on top of a warm pink wash and there's a pleasing balance of illustration, type, and white space. Earthy browns, golds, and greens dominate the paintings and it's obvious from the first page that few contemporary illustrators possess Lynch's mastery and control of watercolor. Whether it be the helpful North Wind, a forbidding forest, or slobbering trolls, his renderings are utterly believable and compelling. An introduction by the respected historian and critic Naomi Lewis provides a fascinating background to the story. An ideal teaming of folklore and illustration. --Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Series: Works in Translation
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st U.S. ed edition (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564020495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564020499
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My name is Elizabeth, and i think that this book is the BEST book I ever read. This book is about a young maden who is so beautiful. One day ever father becomes ill and she needs to fetch him a cup of spring water from the fountain far away. When the maden gets there she drops the cup into the spring. Then a frog gets the cup. he said that in order to do this she must let him have one wish. Then the madens fther becomes better. The maden lives a happy life once again. The frog comes to her house and asks her to kiss him. The maden refuses. Find out what happens to the maden..... she searches far and wide for the one she loves.... I recomend this book because it was so good I remember when my grandfather read it to me and i absolutl loved it! This IS my favoite book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
East o'the Sun, West o'the Moon is probably my most favorite fairy-tale book ever. It includes twenty-two stories, including both more traditional fairy tales ('The Princess on the Glass Hill' and 'East o'the Sun and West o'the Moon') and some that are more along the line of folk-tales, ('Why the Bear is Stumpy-Tailed' and 'Why the Sea is Salt'). The stories are all well-told and accessible for people of all ages.

My only complaints are that it lacks an interactive table of contents (although it's not long enough to matter very much), and that it seems to lack some of the stories I remember from my childhood version (which really isn't likely to bother many people.)

You might also be able to find that one of the cheap versions has illustrations, which are usually worth a dollar or two.

If what you're looking for is a book of simple and lovable fairy tales, East o' the Sun is definitely one that I would recommend.

Stories included are:
East o'the Sun and West o'the Moon
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Taper Tom (The Golden Goose)
Why the Bear is Stumpy-tailed
Reynard and the Cock
Bruin and Reynard are Partners
Boots and His Brothers
The Lad Who Went to the North Wind
The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body
The Sheep and the Pig Who Set Up Housekeeping
The Parson and the Clerk
Father Bruin
The Pancake
Why the Sea is Salt
The Squire's Bride
Peik
The Princess Who Could Not Be Silenced
The Twelve Wild Ducks
Gudbrand-on-the-Hillside
The Princess on the Glass Hill
The Husband Who Was to Mind the House
Little Freddy with his Fiddle.
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Format: Hardcover
This was my absolute favorite book when I was little. The illustrations are absolutely gorgous, the writing (translation is by Sir George Webbe Dasent) is quirky and reads well.
I find it hard to believe that this version is out of print. If you ever see it, get it, for yourself or for a young friend. Both of you would enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my granddaughters and immediately began looking for other books illustrated by Lynch, because it is so beautiful. The story is well-told and nicely paced---altogether pleasing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I said it all in the title of this review. I wish the book were longer.

For similar reading, see a good translation of the works of Hans Christian Anderson (for happy stories, largely) and the Brothers Grimm (for Grimm stories). I like both types, and I liked this collection for the same reason.

By the way, I literally HATE Disney renditions of these stories. They completely ruin the Christian morality story inherent in the tales.
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Format: Hardcover
Thanks to the work of the Brothers Grimm, it's easy enough to (erroneously) assume that most of our most famous fairytales derive from Germany. But there is one relatively popular story that is wholly Norwegian in setting, character and atmosphere: "East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon", a bit of a mouthful that is often retitled "The Polar Bear King". The image of a young girl upon a giant white bear still resonates today, perhaps most recently in Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, in which his young female protagonist befriends and rides a talking polar bear, and the story itself is full of all the familiar tropes of fairytales: rules that are broken, threefold quests to be endured, tests that only a single person can accomplish.

Originally collected in text form by Peter Christian Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe, who were inspired by the work of the Grimm brothers, the story was part of their anthology "Norske Folkeeventyr", first published in 1844. This is a translation of that text, made in 1859 by George Webb Dasent, and according to the foreword: "only minor changes have been made to the original translation." As such, this is a rather lengthy tale, full of grand palaces and dark castles, mysterious husbands and hideous trolls, helpful crones with golden gifts and a resourceful young heroine who rides the back of the North Wind to find and rescue her love.

With strains of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Cupid and Psyche", the story tells of a White Bear who approaches a poor husbandman, asking for his daughter's hand in marriage.
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