Sister Bear: A Norse Tale

Jane Yolen, illus. by Linda Graves. Marshall Cavendish, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5958-3
There isn't a dull moment in Yolen's rousing retelling of this Norwegian folktale, in which a girl tames a polar bear cub, defeats a band of tattooed trolls, and arrives at the court of the King of Denmark to royal acclaim. In the original, a bear trainer is the hero; Yolen (the How Do Dinosaurs series) has swapped him for a girl with yellow braids named Halva, a transformation that could seem contrived, but that Yolen executes with grace. "These are trolls. Ten feet high, green teeth, terrible manners," the trolls' victim, Gusterson, tells Halva. "Sister Bear will take care of everything," she replies, and she and her bear are as good as their word. Graves's (V Is for Von Trapp) characters have the romantic attraction of costumed toys, and nearly every spread features a loving look at a traditional Scandinavian garment and its intricate needlework. There aren't many readers who wouldn't like a pet bear of their own to defeat devious creatures and attract gifts from royalty; Yolen knows a good story when she sees one. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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