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Odd and the Frost Giants Hardcover – September 22, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
Gaiman wrote Odd and the Frost Giants as his personal contribution to World Book Day in the United Kingdom, which exists purely to inspire children to read. It's an annual event where a group of authors write books for nothing and publishers publish them for nothing. These books are then sold for £1 each to children who have been given £1 Book Tokens. On its website, the World Book Day organization ([...]) describes it as "the biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading."
Regrettably, at least for US residents, there are no current plans to publish this charming, 14,500 word novelette in America. Happily, the book is available through Amazon.uk and it's only £1, a bargain even with current exchange rates. Be warned, however, the shipping charge will make the final cost seem relatively steep.
The good news is that it's worth the cost: the story, enhanced by several illustrations from frequent Gaiman collaborator Mark Buckingham, is delightful.
As you may have guessed from the title, the novelette deals with characters from Norse myth, a subject Gaiman became entranced with at a very young age. It tells the story of the crippled Viking boy Odd, who, running away from home, is befriended by a group of forest animals--a fox, a bear, and an eagle--who are far more than they seem. In truth, they are the Norse gods Loki, Thor, and Odin, respectively. Hoodwinked by a crafty and vengeful Frost Giant, they have been transformed into animals and exiled from Asgard.Read more ›
A good example of how Gaiman imbues his characters with personality is shown in this scene were the boy Odd is woken by the sounds of voices in the hut where he has taken refuge along with a strange trio of animals:
"It's because of you we're in this mess."
"I thought we had a deal. I thought we weren't going to keep harping on about a trivial little mistake..."
"You call this trivial?"
And then a third voice, high and raw, screeched.
There was silence. Odd rolled over. There was a glow from the fire embers, enough to see the inside of the hut, enough to confirm to Odd that there were not another three people in there with him. It was just him and the fox and the bear and the eagle...
Whatever they are, thought Odd, they don't seem to eat people. He sat up, leaned against the wall. The bear and the eagle both ignored him. The fox darted him a green-eyed glance.
"You were talking," said Odd.
The animals looked at Odd and at one another. If they did not actually say "Who? Us?" it was there in their expressions, in the way they held themselves.
"_Somebody_ was talking," said Odd, "and it wasn't me. There isn't anyone else in here. That means it was you lot. And there's no point in arguing."
"We weren't arguing," said the bear. "Because we can't talk." Then it said, "Oops.Read more ›
In general, I find that Gaiman does adult novels and comics better than he does children's books. At least, I used to feel that way until the awesomeness of the Graveyard Book. This book aims at a younger audience than that of the graveyard book and still manages to be fantastic for an adult audience.
With Odd and the Frost Giants, Neil Gaiman shows that he is, indeed, able to take the awesomeness of his ideas and make them accessible to children. And yet, through it all, he throws in the occasional reference that children may not understand (and don't need to understand to appreciate the book) but that leave the adult riveted through the entire epic journey.
All in all, this book ends up being the perfect read for a mother or father to read to their child. Or for a child just getting into books. Or for an adult with a quick half hour in the waiting room.
It was just wonderful.
I don't think any more needs to be said. :-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the old Norse tales. My Nana was a 1st generation Norwegian and told me many tales. This a enjoyable book.Published 11 days ago by Deborah Womack
A wondrous little story. It brings the mythology to life and makes these distant characters familiar and enjoyable. I hope more stories follow.Published 13 days ago
Cute book. I enjoyed the short read and my daughters actually sat through it so it was enjoyable. This is going in our family library for the girls to read on their own when... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Sallie Duncan
I chose four stars because, while it's not an outstanding book, Odd And The Frost Giants is a fun and entertaining quickie, with a good lesson in the mix.Published 18 days ago by P. Donley
This is a fun romp through Norse mythology with spirit guide Neil Gaiman. The main character is sympathetic and interesting, and his companions start out as a curiosity but become... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Neodoering
I listened to this on CD, read by Neil Gaiman, a delightful journey! Teamwork, courage, cleverness prevail, with lessons for our mundane lives. Read morePublished 1 month ago by storytellermary
Review first published on jenasbookreviews.blogspot.com
Odd is an unusual sort for a Viking boy. Read more