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Odin's Family Paperback – September 1, 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-The rough-hewn power of Norse mythology is vividly brought to life through Philip's retellings and Foa's darkly luminous illustrations. The 15 myths here, based upon the 13th-century Icelandic Prose Edda, will be familiar to readers of Norse mythology, and include "The Creation," "The Walls of Asgard," "Thor's Hammer," and "The Death of Balder." Philip's versions are straightforward in tone, yet retain an air of wonder. While they can be read as exciting adventures, they never lose the element of sacredness inherent in mythology. Contributing to this aura are Foa's dramatic illustrations. Created by applying thin layers of opaque oil paint to a white surface, the full-page paintings, at least one per tale, possess a primitive, almost surreal look. The artist's depictions of animals and humans are reminiscent of the work of Expressionists such as Marc Chagall and Georges Roualt. Her palette, filled with colors such as black, dark red, yellow ochre, and Chagall blue, looks as if she's borrowed it from Gothic stained-glass windows. Philip includes an afterword and a helpful "Who's Who" of the Norse gods and goddesses with some pronunciation guidance. With its dynamic illustrations and more descriptive text, Mary Pope Osborne's Favorite Norse Myths (Scholastic, 1996) may have wider appeal. But independent readers who find Philip's collection may leave it with a greater understanding of the culture that produced such amazing myths.
Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A retelling of Norse mythology, from creation to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, including stories about Odin, Loki, Thor, and the giants of Jotunheim. Philip (Singing America, 1995, etc.) adds little that is new to the already considerable body of Norse myths available for young readers, but his competent retellings retain an elegant formality. A ``Who's Who'' puts the gods in their places, while the afterword contains interesting information about the Poetic and Prose Eddas, and about Christian influences and parallels. Foa's striking oil paintings have a look best described as somewhere between colored woodcuts and cave paintings; her unusual approach gives the book a quality of something ancient rediscovered, wholly appropriate to the subject. They make the book extraordinary. (further reading) (Folklore. 10+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; 1st American ed edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531095312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531095317
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book lays out the stories in a logical chronology and displays the characters in a very relate-able. I love the illustrations! I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in getting to know Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya and all the others.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, but I have to say that my initial impression was not good. The problem (my problem) was that the first two chapters contained the Viking creation stories and they were told in a very stylized manner (undoubtedly like originally told) so that they simply didn't entertain me much. Beginning with the third chapter/story however, the style changed - became less formalized -- and I ended up enjoying the book a great deal.

Initially I borrowed it from the library in order to see if it would be appropriate for my young children as a read-aloud. The answer: NO. No Way. As I should have concluded from my own reading in Viking and Norse history, there was too much violence for my small fry. People, giants and gods are frequently 'offed', usually at a moments notice and without any particular sound reason other than whim.

Now an older child can infer something about the society that produced such stories and can get some insight as well as entertainment from a book like this. But for young children all of the higher aspects will pass over their heads.

Besides the stories there is a "Who's Who" and an Afterword. The Who's Who is not complete - which is kind of annoying - but it covers most of the important personages involved in the action. The Afterword is brief but nice, and talks about things such as the fact in the Norse mythology that even the fertility deity was male.

"The Viking gods had their origins in the Germanic gods of Northern Europe, but developed to suit the particular nature of the Vikings. The war between the Aesir and the Vanir shows the old fertility gods submitting to the gods of war; in Norse mythology even the chief fertility deity, Freyr, is male."

Mr.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful childrens book teaching ancient lessons that predate the bible. A must!
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By keith on January 19, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book my daughter loves hearing the stories.
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