North Child by Edith Pattou
|North Child by Edith Pattou|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Mary Esther Judy|
|Summary: A beautiful retelling of East of the Sun, west of the Moon that plunges us headlong into the world of Norwegian folklore and magic. North Child is simply fantastic, and a wonderful book to both thrill and comfort… Brilliant for cold wintry nights or long lazy days. (Please note: published as 'East' in the United States.)|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 512||Date: February 2006|
|Publisher: Usborne Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Superstition says that children born facing north will travel far from home and Rose's mother is terrified that Rose, a north child, will face a lonely, icy death if she follows her destiny.
But Rose is blissfully unaware of this, as she has always been told she is an east child in order to protect her from what her mother fears is a terrible fate that will befall them all. Adventurous and bold throughout her childhood, when an enormous, enchanted white bear appears at the family's door and offers to take Rose away with him in exchange for the restored health of her sister, Rose does not hesitate. She travels far on the bear's back to a mysterious castle hidden within a mountain. There, a hidden stranger visits her every night. Rose becomes overwhelmed by curiosity and betrays her host's trust, with horrific consequences. Now, in order to make things right again, she must embark on an epic journey to the place that lies 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon'. In her long, arduous journey, she discovers the truth about her true self and how the fate of so many lies firmly in her hands.
Edith Pattou gives us a retelling of this old myth that plunges us headlong into the world of Norwegian folklore and magic. Filled with detail, the reader is taken along on an epic journey. As with all fairy tales, you may be able to easily guess the end of the story, but this in no way detracts from its telling. The language is beautiful; the descriptive quality of the writing is exquisite and the picture painted with words is rich and textural. The story is told by the various characters involved, primarily Rose and the White Bear, with chapters told by those surrounding them; Neddy (Rose's brother), Father and the hideous and conniving Troll Queen. This envelopes the reader in a rich perspective, allowing for all sides of the tale to be revealed and an understanding given as to motivation and outcome. We can easily see what drives them and feel empathy for even the cruellest character. Uniquely, this doesn't labour the story at all and the pace matches and accentuates the journey itself. It also allows for a full view of the relationship between Rose and the White Bear, which is drawn with the grace and beauty befitting the inherent tragedy at the heart of the plot. Having read this story quite a few years ago, it is one that I return to again and again. North Child is simply fantastic, and a wonderful book to both thrill and comfort…. Brilliant for cold wintry nights or long lazy days.
(North Child is published as 'East' in the United States.)
For further folktales and magic that will take you to a place far away, yet closer than you think, I suggest The Ingo Chronicles: Stormswept by Helen Dunmore, I, Coriander by Sally Gardner and The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.