Breadcrumbs

Anne Ursu, illus. by Erin McGuire. HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-201505-1
Ursu follows her Cronus Chronicles trilogy with this deeply felt, modern-day fantasy that borrows plot from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Richly imaginative fifth-grader Hazel, adopted from India, has recently switched schools and is failing (badly) to fit in. Money is tight, her parents have divorced, and her best friend, Jack, suddenly rebuffs her. Hazel is devastated, but readers learn the cause of Jack’s alienation is a shard of magical mirror lodged in his heart. When Jack disappears with an ethereal woman on a sled pulled by wolves, Hazel heads into the wintry and enchanted Minnesota woods to rescue him. A sadness as heavy as a Northwoods snowfall pervades this story, though it has its delights, too. Ursu offers many winks at avid fans of fairy tales and fantasy (Jack’s mother looks “like someone had severed her daemon”). The creepy fantasyland that Hazel traverses uses bits from other Andersen tales to create a story that, though melancholy, is beautifully written and wholly original. It’s certainly the only children’s fantasy around where Minnesota Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer figures into the plot. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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FORMATS
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-06-201506-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-221136-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-212873-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-01400-4
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-204924-7
Hardcover - 978-0-605-72109-8
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