December 6, 2003.
Harcourt, Orlando, 2003. 498 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF PAT).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out
#2, Young Adult Fantasy
Magnificent. Achingly beautiful.
I find it remarkable that The Goose Girl
arrived at the library on the same day. Both are
exquisite retellings of fairy tales. They’re the two best books
I’ve read in a long time, perhaps ever. I ranked The Goose
first on my 2003 Stand-outs page, but that’s probably because
that fairy tale better. The writing in East
I’ve loved fairy tales as long as I can remember. I think I love
fantasy novels because they remind me of fairy tales. It isn’t
any wonder that novelized fairy tales are my favorites of all.
is based on “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” a
fairy tale I always found a bit odd. Edith Pattou’s exquisite
story makes it all seem to make perfect sense. I like the way she
set it in a specific time and place, in Norway at the time when the
printing press had just been invented.
Rose is the youngest of a farmer’s eight children. She’s
a north-born child and is born to wander. A giant white bear asks
Rose to go with him. In return, her sick sister will be healed,
and the family will know prosperity again.
The white bear takes her to a magnificent castle. Every night,
someone comes to the other side of her bed. She doesn’t speak
to him or touch him. (It’s a good, clean story.) All the
lights go out, and she does not know if he is a monster, or a
She does have a feeling that he is the white bear in some other form.
When her curiosity finally gets the best of her, disaster
strikes. To set it right, Rose must travel East of the Sun and
West of the Moon.
I can’t praise this book highly enough. The writing is beautiful,
speaking from the perspectives of Rose, her father, her brother, the
white bear and the troll queen. The story feels fraught with
symbolism, as all fairy tales do. I think that this story would
be excellent for reading aloud. It’s one I want to turn around
and buy and come back to again and again over the years.
Rebecca gives this book 5 stars.
An anonymous reader also gives it 5 stars with the comment, "I loved
this book so much. . . it was a beautiful story about a girl growing up!
Review of another book by Edith Pattou:
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All
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