Odd and the Frost Giants
by Gaiman, Neil; Helquist, Brett (ILT)

The Fox, the Eagle and the Bear
The Night Conversation
Making Rainbows
At Mimir's Well
The Gates of Asgard
Four Transformations and a Meal

An unlucky twelve-year-old Norwegian boy named Odd leads the Norse gods Loki, Thor, and Odin in an attempt to outwit evil Frost Giants who have taken over Asgard.

Not to be mistaken as a follow-up to this year's Newbery winner, The Graveyard Book, this thin novella was written for Britain's World Book Day, an event designed to get kids excited about reading, and is now being published in the U.S. It follows the adventures of a Viking lad named Odd, who grows weary of his little village and sets out on his own. He encounters a talking (and bickering) eagle, bear, and fox, who reveal themselves to be none other than Odin, Thor, and Loki, banished from Asgard by a monstrous frost giant. Odd takes it upon himself to help the trio return home, using his wits and sense of compassion to dispatch the giant. Along with Gaiman's deft humor, lively prose, and agile imagination, a few unexpected themes-the double-edged allure of beauty, the value of family-sneak into this slim tale with particular appeal to kids drawn to Norse mythology, but suitable for any readers of light fantasy. Yet more proof that there isn't much Gaiman can't write well, be it comics, picture books, or novels for any age. Final art not seen. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Gaiman does it again, this time featuring a lame young boy, talking animals and intrigue in Asgard. Originally written for World Book Day, this sweet, wistful, slyly funny novella also offers a crash course in ancient Norse mythology. Unlucky Odd lost his father during a Viking raid (but not to heroics) and then crushed his leg trying to be a man. When an endless winter descends, he leaves his stepfather's home and is recruited by talking animals who are actually Thor, Odin and Loki, exiled to earth by a Frost Giant. Odd ultimately outwits the giant in a way that upholds and yet totally subverts the trope, at the end returning home still humble but successful and clearly destined for more adventures. Like George R.R. Martin's The Ice Dragon (2006), this succeeds both as a delightful children's book and an adult collectible. Children will enjoy Odd's quiet heroism and the simple adventure; adults will love the squabbling gods and the strong women (and the Frost Giant's response to feisty Freya!). All in all, another winner. (final art not seen) (Fantasy. 8 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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