The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God

Lise Lunge-Larsen, Author, Jim Madsen, Illustrator , illus. by Jim Madsen. Houghton $19.95 (76p) ISBN 978-0-618-47301-4

The namesake of the fifth day of the week gets a fresh look in this compilation of Thor stories by Lunge-Larsen (Noah's Mittens ). The Norwegian-born author drew upon the tales of her youth in putting together this collection that features the revered Thunder God. The opening sentence explains his stature: “The Vikings worshiped many gods, but Thor was their favorite because he was the biggest, strongest, and bravest. He kept everyone safe from the evil giants.” The ensuing eight stories detail Thor's family, the origins of his strength and some of the battles he fought, as well as relate a few of the humorous pickles the mighty god found himself in, such as when he had to dress as a bride to get back his stolen battle hammer. Despite the book's length and a sprinkling of Norwegian words (a glossary is given at the end), the conversational narrative reads easily, providing enough details about each character to avoid confusing audiences. Madsen's (Call Me Little Echo Hawk ) majestic digitally rendered illustrations bring the tales to life, echoing their humor, with many characters portrayed in caricature. While some scenes resemble lush oil paintings (including a spread of giants stalking the land against an imposing purple mountain backdrop), others (such as bits of spot art that capture a character's emotion or introduce a new setting) could pass as animation stills. These retellings offer an accessible and engaging doorway into the world of Norse mythology. Ages 6-10. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/11/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
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