cover image Favorite Norse Myths

Favorite Norse Myths

Mary Pope Osborne. Scholastic, $17.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-590-48046-8

In this stunning volume, Osborne and Howell return from Favorite Greek Myths and Mermaid Tales from Around the World to uncover a cache of tales from another dynamic tradition. Originating from the pre-Christian culture of the Vikings, these 14 legends taken from the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda largely revolve around the incessant squabbling among the energetic Norse gods and goddesses and the ominous frost-giants. Dwarves, dark elves and magical animals also play key roles, while plots feature clever disguises, spells and crafty ploys, many masterminded by this collection's liveliest character, the trickster god Loki. An abundance of well-pitched dialogue makes these potentially dense tales admirably accessible to the target audience. Howell's majestic art, rendered on rag board in acrylics with oil washes, conveys an impressive range of moods as it echoes the stories' key themes, among them the sometimes nebulous nature of good and evil, the effects of the gods' actions on the natural world and the rebirth of life after an apocalyptic confrontation between the deities and their foes marks the end of ""time's morning."" Subtle line drawings, re-creations of primitive Viking art, scratched onto the surface of each commanding, double-page painting enrich the historical patina. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)