Odd and the Frost Giants [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.

In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he's had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers ...

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Odd and the Frost Giants

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Overview

In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.

In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he's had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.

Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.

Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.

It's going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.

Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .

Someone just like Odd .

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  • Odd and the Frost Giants
    Odd and the Frost Giants  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Everybody loves Neil Gaiman, and why not? Born in Great Britain, transplanted to Minneapolis, this versatile writer has done everything and won everything: He has garnered awards for his science fiction novels and short stories; his young adult books; his comics and his graphic novels. Odd and the Frost Giants recalls the heroic effort of a 12-year-old Viking boy whose kindness reverses his bad fortune and sets him on the way to reclaim Thor's hammer and release the Nordic gods. Thunderous fun.
Publishers Weekly
In this simple but well-done tale, Newbery Medal–winner Gaiman (The Graveyard Book) introduces Odd, a boy with an injured leg whose Viking father died at sea. Odd befriends the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Loki, who have been transformed into animals and exiled from Asgard. The gods, having previously tricked and bested the Frost Giants, are now receiving some of their own medicine. Showing great ingenuity, Odd figures out how to reach Asgard and then convinces the Frost Giant that ruling Asgard isn't so great (after all, admits the giant, his prize, the beautiful goddess Freya, “only comes up to the top of my foot. She shouts louder than a giantess when she's angry. And she's always angry”). The gods and the giant, though powerful, come across as self-involved and vaguely simpleminded, clearly in need of a resourceful young fellow like Odd to help set things straight. Although less original than Coraline or The Wolves in the Walls, this enjoyable story should appeal to Gaiman's younger fans. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
This is an imaginative journey through Norse mythology. In this carefully crafted tale, Gaiman takes readers to ancient Norway where a boy named Odd lives with his family. His father dies on a Viking expedition, and a tree shatters Odd's leg, crippling the boy immediately. Will he ever walk again? After his mother remarries, Odd feels displaced within his own family. He wanders away from home and into the forest where he meets a bear, a fox, and an eagle. In this story, they are talking creatures with interesting tales to share. In fact, they are the gods of ancient mythology in animal disguise. Soon, he joins the animals on a journey to Asgard, where the Frost Giants have taken over the city. Will Odd save Asgard? Can a young boy outwit the mighty Frost Giants? This story is well-written, and young readers will fall into the tapestry of ancient Norway, a world filled with magic and mythology. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Using several figures from Norse mythology, Gaiman has written a thoughtful and quietly humorous fantasy that younger Percy Jackson fans will enjoy. Twelve-year-old Odd hasn't had a good couple of years: his father died rescuing a pony that fell overboard during a Viking raid, his leg was crippled during a tree-felling accident, and his mother married a man he dislikes. So, in the midst of what should be spring ("Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die"), he sets out for a cabin in the wilderness, figuring that anything will be better than home. Soon after arriving, a fox leads him to an enormous bear whose paw is caught in a tree; a large eagle circles overhead. Odd shows kindness and bravery when helping the bear, learning afterward that these three animals are gods who have been transformed by the Frost Giant. Odd is determined to help them, and his ultimate encounter with the Frost Giant is especially interesting, tweaking the tradition of small boys getting the better of giants. Readers will also enjoy Odd's interaction with the animals, Gaiman's simple and graceful writing, and the satisfying conclusion.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Gaiman does it again, this time featuring a lame young boy, talking animals and intrigue in Asgard. Originally written for World Book Day, this sweet, wistful, slyly funny novella also offers a crash course in ancient Norse mythology. Unlucky Odd lost his father during a Viking raid (but not to heroics) and then crushed his leg trying to be a man. When an endless winter descends, he leaves his stepfather's home and is recruited by talking animals who are actually Thor, Odin and Loki, exiled to earth by a Frost Giant. Odd ultimately outwits the giant in a way that upholds and yet totally subverts the trope, at the end returning home still humble but successful and clearly destined for more adventures. Like George R.R. Martin's The Ice Dragon (2006), this succeeds both as a delightful children's book and an adult collectible. Children will enjoy Odd's quiet heroism and the simple adventure; adults will love the squabbling gods and the strong women (and the Frost Giant's response to feisty Freya!). All in all, another winner. (final art not seen) (Fantasy. 8 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061964879
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/22/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 199,084
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains." Originally from England, he now lives in America.


Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Roger, The Jolly Pirate, to the alarming New York Times bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events, to the cozy E. B. White Read-Aloud Award finalist bedtime for bear. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Charming Book

    I'm teaching a unit on Norse Mythology and I used this book for my class. All of my students enjoyed it tremendously. Mr. Gaiman's previous book, American Gods covered the Norse myths (among others) nicely but this book is more appropriate for the classroom. I highly recommend his juvenile fiction.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Neil Gaiman is just plain good.

    I don't know what happened but I have just discovered Neil Galman. Since this major discovery I have decided to read all his books. So far they have all been great.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    A Damn Fine Read

    Best two lunch breaks worth of heathen story I've read in a long time.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2012

    I can't say I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman. When I read the first two

    I can't say I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman. When I read the first two chapters of Odd and the Frost Giant I thought I was going to be. But I'm not. The first two chapters of this book made me slap down the $9.99 for the 57 page e-book---I never pay that much for an e-book let alone a 57 page one. That's how great the first two chapters were. And here I must say a hearty... BUT...

    From that point on it did nothing. Nothing, but frustrate me. The character of Odd, though intriguing in the first two chapters, proved to be more one-dimensional than most characters in the Sunday funny's. That's not to say Odd and the Frost Giant is an awful book. There were moments I enjoyed, but largely I kept reading only because I had paid so much for it. The story is not really children's story (IMHO). It's about a child, and there's some mildly comical dialogue, but there's where the similarity ends. There's one moment where a brief but visceral explanation was given of what a hand ax was used for (severing flesh from bone for sacrifices to the Norse god Loki) that just felt incredibly out of place for a novel for youngsters. When the story had ended (no I won't spoil the ending for you if you still want to read it, but) something happens that left me feeling Odd had lost his childhood far too quickly. Mr. Gaiman is obviously a frequently read author, but if I had been his editor, I'd have taken him back to the beginning of chapter three and told him he needed to change almost everything after that point.

    That's my mostly-humble opinion. I mean no disrespect. But my advice... Save the money, save the time, buy something that is enjoyable all the way through. I would recommend something by C.S. Lewis or even Windblowne by Stephen Messer. Although currently that is the only book of Messer's that I can recommend. I hope this review helps.

    May all your Dreams be Dreams,

    Geno

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A True Treasure

    Odd and the Frost Giants is a fairy tale/legend style story of a strong, determined little boy named Odd, who despite being lame, alone and hated (by his new stepfather) finds his way in Norse life. Quiet and, well, odd, Odd is called on to help three gods, trapped in animal form on Earth by a vindictive giant who has seized their home. As the gods Loki, Thor and Odin spent more and more time trapped on earth they lose their selves to the bestial natures of a fox, a bear and an eagle respectively. With their home Asgard under the control of the Frost Giant spring cannot come to earth (Midgard) and the humans are doomed unless the gods resume their thrones, and their more human shapes.

    Hard and a little cold himself, Odd, only ten, is who Loki finds to help the trio, and through a series of clever sets of problem solving Odd, a mere human, becomes the one smart enough and reliable enough to save the gods and spring. Besides containing a subtle message that humanity is the core of the deities' strength, Odd and the Frost Giants is also a smart, blood-free tale set in a Viking era that children and adults alike will find compelling, adventurous and easy to follow.

    This remains one of books to cause the most anticipation in our family's nightly reading, and to engage the children strongly enough to keep them connected to the story, and to Odd, night after night (even on the nights we missed). Highly recommended for reading aloud and to give kids a taste of a world different from ours, but a little boy with all the same big feelings inside.

    "I like this book. I like the part when Odd was happy to go home." ~Amber, 6

    "I liked this book. The snow would not melt. The giant took Asgard. That giant was so angry!" ~Leif, 9

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Educational and Fun

    My son really enjoyed this book. He enjoys mythology and this provided a neat mixture of fiction from a boys perspective.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A wonderful children's story.

    Another excellent children's story from Neil Gaiman that is also fun for adults.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Boy Proves his Worth

    This is a tale set in the far north, and it involves an under rated young boy who proves that he is valuable and important. Of course it has a happy ending. I bought it as a winter book for my 9 year old twin grandsons.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    I loved this! I am a big fan of Norse mythology and I think Gaim

    I loved this! I am a big fan of Norse mythology and I think Gaiman did a great job of keeping elements of the myths and their iconic characters alive, while making it very readable, light and natural. I also loved the length of it. It's a tale and it shouldn't be dragged out in the way I think some writers might feel compelled to do. Perfect length. I love Neil Gaiman - have read most of his adult novels and LOVED American Gods and highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Oeggggggg

    X vvcx9 b

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Ok

    Please say yes

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Odd, a boy with a bum leg and an odd personality, runs away from

    Odd, a boy with a bum leg and an odd personality, runs away from home after his father dies and his mother remarries. In the forest, he finds a fox, a bear, and an eagle, whom he befriends. With these new pals, Odd recaptures Asgard from the Frost Giants. A short and sweet fairy-tale like story.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Short and Mildly Entertaining This book is meant for children o

    Short and Mildly Entertaining

    This book is meant for children or people with short attention spans. A kid friendly version of Norse mythology serves as the setting for this story. Other than that there isn't anything else worth mentioning.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    To the 13 person

    It isnt 9.99, its 1.99

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Dumb dumb dumb

    Stupid book never buy it:(

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Not bad

    Not bad at all

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    entertaining, but with little impact

    Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants was fun, and had numerous good moments... but (and you knew there was a 'but' coming)... it felt surprisingly thin, compared to, say, 'Coraline.' The storytelling itself was fine, the mythological spin was fresh, and it certainly wasn't boring, but the emotional impact, for me, was light.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Good but short!

    Neil Gaiman is as always at his best, but be warned, if you buy this book on nook for $9.99, it is only 51 pages long, and only about 45 of those are the story. I liked it but I need a lot more pages for that much money, I was expecting a whole novel.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Odd's oddness is someething to which one should aspire!

    It was delightful, touching, entertaining, and at the same time challenging to all about their vaules. Although written for children, it carries a message that can challenge us all--at any and every age. A friend loaned it to me to read, and upon completion I immediately ordered a copy for my grandson--age 8 and hopefully to be shared with his two younger sisters. The writing immediately drew one in, and captured and held one's interest right up to the last page and last sentence and the last period. Would definitely put this on everyone's "must read list". Am looking forward to reading other works from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    very cute and likable

    kids would like this. as an adult is very cute, easy reading that fills your head with interesting dreams :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews

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