Friday, August 6, 2010

Tale of a North-Born


Written by: Edith Pattou

Released: 2003 by Harcourt Children’s Books

Summary: In the rural villages of Norway, there is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born. Nymah Rose, the last daughter of eight siblings born to a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife, was a North-born baby. It is said that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers’ hearts because they all leave hearth and home to travel to the far ends of the earth. To keep her close, Rose’s mother lied and told her she had been born of the obedient and pliable East. But destiny cannot be denied. One day, a great white bear comes to the mapmaker’s door to claim Rose’s birthright.

Ok, this is one of my favourite fairy tales to read, but this wasn’t my favourite rendition of East of the Sun, West of the Moon but it was still really good. In fact, this was the first one that I’ve read where I can picture it happening (aside from the trolls and whatnot) but it was more realistic than any of the others that I’ve read.

Now, I’m normally not one who enjoys reading a book written from alternating perspectives but with this book it worked. In fact, the fact that the Troll Queen was one of the narratives made me feel really sorry for her. She was just so pathetically in love and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. However, it really shows the reader the lengths that a person would go to in order to obtain what they want most.

I also liked how the White Bear started his narrative in broken poetry and had his language progress after he transformed back into a man. I thought that that was a perfect representation of his character.

Something that I really enjoyed was the whole idea behind the names and the birth-direction; I thought that it was a very original idea and it fit well with the story. It was definitely an interesting aspect to everything and it connected well with the story itself.

In the end, even though this wasn’t my favourite version of this fairy tale, it was still a very original perspective. I’m giving it an 8/10.

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