Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | |

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants comes from Neil Gaiman, who is quickly climbing into my list of all-time favorite authors. I think he's great because it seems like he can write effectively for any audience, and this latest book seems to show that.

Odd is a small boy with a tough life. His father is gone, drowned, and all the vikings in the village he lives with are upset, having been beset with what seems a never-ending winter. Odd runs into a bear, an eagle and a fox, who are much more than they seem. Soon he's off on a quest to help the animals return to their home, the city of Asgard.

Make no mistake, this a very small book for younger children. That said, I loved every page. It's simple, wonderful writing that drew me in and gave me the chuckles at several points. There are a few jokes thrown into the book that are clearly of the Spongebob variety (jokes that seem to be pandering more to the adults in the room than the children watching the program) and I loved them all. The book was incredibly short, and clearly written for a different audience, so I'm having a hard time giving it a really in-depth review. I was surprised by the higher than usual level of vocabulary in the book, but maybe I just assume that little kids can't read at as high a level as they really do. Someone let me know, I'm not a teacher and don't have a child this age, so I'm only guessing.

Gaiman impressed me with The Graveyard Book last year, and has done it again this time, with a much smaller book for an even younger audience. I'm more and more impressed that the guy can write so well for just about any age group, and though I still haven't jumped into American Gods, it's definitely on the list. I hear I should also check out his Sandman graphic novels, so I'll be looking into those sometime next year.

Odd and the Frost Giants (9/10) is a fun and quick adventure for a young audience. I'd guess that ages 8-10 should really enjoy this book, though I'm 25 and had a great time. If you're an adult and have about 45 minutes to kill, pick this one up. Gaiman wrote this book for World Book Day, to promote reading, and has stated that he would perhaps eventually return to the world to write more books about Odd. I'd certainly return to read them.


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