Friday, January 8, 2010

Middle-grade Review: Odd and the Frost Giants

Neil Gaiman, author of many best-selling books, including Coraline and the award-winning The Graveyard Book, has published a new book for middle-grade readers. During the holidays, we listened to and enjoyed the audio version of Odd and the Frost Giants, written and read by Neil Gaiman.

Odd and the Frost Giants is an old-style fable set in ancient Norway, during the time of the Vikings, featuring a sweet and brave twelve-year old boy:

There was a boy called Odd, and there was nothing strange or unusual about that, not in that time or place. Odd meant the tip of a blade, and it was a lucky name.

He was odd, though. At least, the other villagers thought so. But if there was one thing that he wasn’t, it was lucky.

Odd’s father died when he was ten years old, and Odd walks with a crutch because his leg was shattered in an accident. One year, during a terrible winter that won’t end, Odd runs away from home to escape his stepfather, into the forest. He meets three mysterious animals – a huge bear, a fox, and an eagle – who share with him a very strange story that sets him off on a journey to a magical place.

This enchanting tale of Norse gods and a small boy’s bravery will be especially appealing to kids who enjoy stories of mythology and magical creatures. The audio version, read by Gaiman himself, is a mesmerizing story, particularly when listened to in the car on a snowy day. I haven’t seen the printed book myself, but its listing on amazon shows some beautiful pencil drawings to accompany the tale. It’s a brief book (the audio is 90 minutes long), appropriate for kids ages 7 and up on audio or as a read-aloud.

90 minutes, Harper Audio

128 pages, HarperCollins

Listen to an audio sample.


Jan von Harz said...

This sounds like a book that would really appeal to middle schoolers. I will definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing

Andrea said...

Wow, that sounds great. I will have to check it out.