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Odd and the Frost Giants (book review)

November 4, 2008

Odd and The Frost Giants

Neil Gaiman

Bloomsbury

World hoDay 2008

97 pages

First of all, many thanks to Raphy, who heard about World Book Day, and brought me a copy of Neil Gaiman’s “Odd and the Frost Giants.”  This slim volume, available in England for a pound, is a sweet, pocket-sized fairy tale, a fast and winning read on a chilly night.

Odd is a young boy in a small Norse village, who might not have that many reasons to smile.  He walks, leaning on a crutch, after an accident that mangled one foot.  Odd’s father was lost at sea when Odd was very young.  His mother misses her native Scotland, and is married to the grumpy Fat Elfred.  And worst of all, winter snows have blanketed the village for an unnaturally, some might say supernaturally long time.

But Odd keeps smiling.  His smile wins him the friendship of three animal companions: a bear, an eagle and a fox, each of whom is more than it may seem.

Odd’s adventure is a delight to read.  Neil Gaiman’s tale is rich in Norse mythology.  His prose also has droll, British turns of phrase peeking through.  This story is sure to entice more people to read, as is the goal of World Book Day.  But it would also be wonderful to read aloud on an icy winter night.

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