Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Into The Woods, Toward the Creepy Ice Palace

Published: Spetember 27th, 2011
Written By: Anne Ursu, Illustrations by: Erin Mcguire
HarperCollinsPublishers / Walden Pond Press
ISBN-13: 9780062015051

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.


   Hazel's life is not what it used to be.  She used to go to a liberal private school where the students calle teachers by their first names, her parents were happily married and she had a great best friend named Jack.  Now Hazel's parents are getting divorced, her Dad has seemingly no interest in her at all, she's stuck in public school where all the kids hate her and they don't have money for ballet lessons that Hazel wants.  The one thing she really has left is her friendship with Jack.  Together they imagine fantasctic worlds filled with magic, dragons, knights, superheroes and villains.  One day at school a piece of glass from a magic mirror (broken by a crazy imp) gets into Jack's eye.  It magnifies all that's wrong with the world and begins to destroy his friendship with Hazel.  Then a woman who is a lot like The Snow Queen from the fairy tale convinces Jack to return with her to a Palace of Ice, that's far away.  Hazel knows something is wrong with Jack, but everyone around her tries to tell her that he decided girls and boys just couldn't be friends.  When she finds out what really happened, Hazel will embark on an odyssey through strange, dangerous and magical lands to retrieve Jack from the icy, numb world he's trapped in.  Will Hazel make it to Jack or will she fall to harm by the evil surrounding her?  And will she be able to rescue Jack from the cynical view of the mirror once she reaches him?  More of a middle-school age kid or children's book, this was still compelling stuff.  I read most of it in one sitting, because even though I felt detached from the characters themselvers the plot never stagnated.  It kept moving in a way that was interesting and the illustrations were not overused, complementing the written words.  The illustrator of this book has a supreme talent, but some may not like her cartoonish style of drawing (I loved it personally).  The way the original tale of "The Snow Queen" was woven into the plot worked very well.  A couple other fairy tales were alluded to as well, most obviously "The Little Match Girl."  I loved the way Hazel took charge of changing the girl's destiny herself.  This was a good book but fell short for me, most likely because of my age and more mature perspective.  A lot of children under the age of 13 will fall head over heels for this one.  As for adults, it's worth the read.

VERDICT:  3.5/5  Stars

* No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*


  1. Just wanted to say thanks for your fun giveaway and I love your blog, it's decor and color and more importantly the reviews are good! I always have fun reading them!

    1. Thank you for the compliment and I'm glad you enjoyed the giveaway. It's always nice to hear that people are enjoying my reviews! :)


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