The thrilling, wintry Nordic tale by Neil Gaiman, who weaves a magical story of legend and adventure that will enchant readers from beginning to end. Odd, a young Viking boy, is left fatherless following a raid. In his icy, ancient world there is no mercy for an unlucky soul with a crushed foot and no one to protect him. Fleeing to the woods, Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear…and then Odd's destiny begins to change.
The eagle, bear, and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giant who has conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Now our hero must reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods…
In this simple but well-done tale, Newbery Medal winner Gaiman (The Graveyard Book) introduces Odd, a boy with an injured leg whose Viking father died at sea. Odd befriends the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Loki, who have been transformed into animals and exiled from Asgard. The gods, having previously tricked and bested the Frost Giants, are now receiving some of their own medicine. Showing great ingenuity, Odd figures out how to reach Asgard and then convinces the Frost Giant that ruling Asgard isn't so great (after all, admits the giant, his prize, the beautiful goddess Freya, only comes up to the top of my foot. She shouts louder than a giantess when she's angry. And she's always angry ). The gods and the giant, though powerful, come across as self-involved and vaguely simpleminded, clearly in need of a resourceful young fellow like Odd to help set things straight. Although less original than Coraline or The Wolves in the Walls, this enjoyable story should appeal to Gaiman's younger fans. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12.