Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs

4.5 98
by Anne Ursu, Erin McGuire
     
 

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Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to

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Overview

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.

Publishers Weekly Best Book
School Library Journal Best Book
Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
NPR Backseat Book Club Selection

Editorial Reviews

Ingrid Law
“Devastatingly brilliant and beautiful...Ursu has sculpted a rich and poignant adventure that brings readers deep into the mysterious, magical, and sometimes frightening forests of childhood and change. Breadcrumbs is one of those rare novels that turned me on my head then sat on my heart and refused to budge.”
Gary Schmidt
“This is a lyrical book, a lovely book, and a smart book; it dares us to see stories as spreading more widely, and running more deeply, than we had imagined.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
The evocative magical landscape, superbly developed characters (particularly dreamy, self-doubting, determined Hazel and lost Jack), and the piercing sadness of a faltering childhood friendship give this delicately written fantasy wide and lingering appeal.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
The evocative magical landscape, superbly developed characters (particularly dreamy, self-doubting, determined Hazel and lost Jack), and the piercing sadness of a faltering childhood friendship give this delicately written fantasy wide and lingering appeal.
Featured Selection
2011 NPR Backseat Book Club
The Wall Street Journal
“Wonderfully distinct, delightfully told and destined for a long life on the shelf.”
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The evocative magical landscape, superbly developed characters (particularly dreamy, self-doubting, determined Hazel and lost Jack), and the piercing sadness of a faltering childhood friendship give this delicately written fantasy wide and lingering appeal.
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
The evocative magical landscape, superbly developed characters (particularly dreamy, self-doubting, determined Hazel and lost Jack), and the piercing sadness of a faltering childhood friendship give this delicately written fantasy wide and lingering appeal.
Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Eleven-year-old Hazel Anderson is having a rough time: Dad not only left, but is remarrying; Hazel is forced to leave the school she loves; and she is bullied at the new school. The only piece that fits perfectly in the jigsaw puzzle of her life is Jack. Her best friend and next door neighbor for the past four years, Jack "was the only person who saw things for what they could be instead of just what they were." Then, following a huge snowstorm, Jack is injured and their magical friendship destroyed. Although his external recovery is swift, his heart has turned to ice. He insults Hazel, abruptly ends their friendship, and mysteriously disappears. Despite the odds of finding, let alone rescuing, Jack, Hazel sets off for the scary woods on her own, determined to do just that. This is a lyrical, contemporary version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." Hazel is a tremendously sympathetic and likable heroine: imaginative, clever, loyal, and a bit sarcastic. Ursu's writing is lovely: "She hardened her skin against the wind, her blood against the cold, her heart against the despairing sky." McGuire's stunning black-and-white drawings complement the story perfectly. The only reservation is that Part Two includes some very intense encounters and images which could upset younger readers. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
School Library Journal
Gr 5�8—Hazel Anderson's 10-year-old world is teetering on the unsteady foundation of her parents' separation, as she is now at a new school where she feels like an outsider, both as a dreamer and as an adoptee from South Asia. She is bullied and misunderstood, and her best friend, Jack, is spending more time with his male friends than with her. When a demon drops a shard of an enchanted mirror into his eye and he becomes drugged and manic under its influence, he accompanies the Snow Queen into the woods. During her search for him, Hazel's realistic world collides with surreal fantasy and she is thrown into the eerie, threatening woods of broken and transformed fairy tales. She encounters shadowy threats in the form of creepy, unscrupulous adults who have their own agendas and victims: a girl ensnared in the body of a bird, and children trapped as flowers. Hazel's challenge consists largely in persisting in her quest to rescue Jack despite her insecurity about their friendship and the lack of a breadcrumb path in a confusing world. Unlike the triumphant ending of Andersen's "Snow Queen," Hazel's rescue of Jack and its aftermath is realistically bittersweet. Jack is who he is, a boy who is growing away from her. It is Hazel who is changed by her experience, and who learns to approach her life with positive energy. Although this is a fantasy, its grounding in psychological realism and focus on Hazel's feelings makes it a fine choice for readers who prefer realistic fiction. Ursu's multilayered, dreamlike story stands out from the fantasy/quest pack.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062015068
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/02/2013
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
171,859
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Gary Schmidt
“This is a lyrical book, a lovely book, and a smart book; it dares us to see stories as spreading more widely, and running more deeply, than we had imagined.”
Ingrid Law
“Devastatingly brilliant and beautiful...Ursu has sculpted a rich and poignant adventure that brings readers deep into the mysterious, magical, and sometimes frightening forests of childhood and change. Breadcrumbs is one of those rare novels that turned me on my head then sat on my heart and refused to budge.”

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