Review by Booklist Review
In this companion to Norse Myths (2017), Crossley-Holland revisits mythical tales of the Viking Age in a shorter, though equally compelling tome of five stories. While the Norse gods appear again, this time they've all crossed a rainbow bridge and appear among humans, giants, trolls, and other supernatural beings in Midguard (also known as Middle Earth). The foreword explains the concept of the rainbow bridge and that the gods use it from time to time to visit humans and help them in their land. From Odin's showdown with a cave-dwelling giant to a miserly ghost tricked out of his fortune, the author's storytelling is direct with bold scenes, occasionally sinister twists, and touches of optimism, all of which explore the human condition. Female characters play a more prominent role in this volume, especially in the tale of a girl who is bestowed the secret of making linen by the goddess Frigg. The final tale, the only one told in the first person, is a gentler one in which a boy receives the gift of poetry from a god's legacy and hopes to pass it on to a worthy reader (which could be you!). Once again, Love's striking expressionistic illustrations with ominous creatures, rugged terrain, and dark colors set just the right tone for this distinctive collection.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 5 Up--Crossley-Holland delivers a new title consisting of five short stories based on Norse mythology. Readers are introduced to Middle Earth and the Norse gods in the foreword, followed by the stories of these gods and humans. The first tale centers three gods trying to outsmart a troll. The second follows a man who seeks information only belonging to a ghost. In the third, readers learn about creating beauty from little through hard work. The fourth tells of a surprisingly tricky god out for a fun jaunt over the rainbow bridge. The final story explores how the gift of lyrical poetry gets passed down through generations. Readers do not need any previous knowledge of Norse mythology to enjoy this book. At a short 96 pages (many of which are full of gorgeous illustrations), this will be a quick read for an older child or teen. However, be aware that some of these stories end as many myths do, with violence. With the caveat in mind to deliver this to readers mature enough for such content, this is a beautiful and lyrical book that will be enjoyed by many older children and teens. VERDICT Unique and intriguing for the right reader. Recommended purchase where mythology is popular.--Elizabeth Portillo, Finkelstein Memorial Lib., Spring Valley, NY
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Review by Horn Book Review
In five stories, Norse gods cross the rainbow bridge from Asgard and visit us below, in the world of humans, dwarfs, and giants. Loki saves a child from being kidnapped by a troll; a mysterious laborer helps put to rest the corpse of a miserly husband; a little girl is blessed with the gift of blue flowering flax. These are stories full of riddles, trickery, bounty, and an overwhelming awareness of the hugeness, littleness, and beauty of the natural world. Each is "blood-bright and...relevant today," writes Crossley-Holland in the foreword: true, and in no small measure due to his own strong, musical prose and Love's deep, dark illustrations, in as monumental a style as geological features. Although the tales are set in the past, there's an immediacy and intimacy to the narrative voice that brings them right into the space of reader or listener. "Will that be you?" the collection ends; "Will it be your tongue I touch with the mead of poetry?" "The awkward black ribs of the mountain"; "a lap of green land"; "a wicked army of rock slabs" -- the earth comes alive through such language, while cosmic radiance pours down the page in Love's art. Even Crossley-Holland's sentence structure upholds and deepens the tales' mingling of earthly physicality and unpredictable, spirited gods. With their unexpected turns and in the author's fresh, poetic language, these tales become exceptionally mysterious and captivating. Deirdre F. Baker January/February 2022 p.127(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A compendium of Norse tales from the age of the Vikings. In ninth-to-11th-century Scandinavia, the world was, to the humans who inhabited it, a place full of spirits, gods, trolls, giants, and dwarves. Midgard ("Middle Earth"), where humans lived, was also home to giants and dwarves and a place where spirits of the uneasy dead walked. The gods lived in Asgard, above Midgard, and occasionally came to visit Midgard by way of a three-strand rainbow bridge. The five tales gathered here, mostly from Iceland, have a powerful, unadorned way of going, reflecting the subsistence lives of the people who created them as a way to make sense of their often capricious existence. A mother and father implore the gods for help to save their daughter from a troll. A human girl is given the gift of flax by the goddess Frigg, wife of Odin, the Allfather. While the archaic details may be unfamiliar, the basic essence of the human condition comes through loud and clear--and comfortingly. With each story, readers will realize both the close connection the people felt with the natural world and how deeply they lived their spare and forceful existence. Equally spare and forceful are the masterful illustrations. Silhouette spots are interspersed with dramatic, limited-color double-page spreads that show off and deepen the narrative, sometimes portraying harsh, raw, and even frightening scenes, sometimes gentle and illuminating ones; each is a tour de force of design and execution. Powerful, moving, relevant. (Traditional literature. 10-14) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.