Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

East by Edith Pattou

This is a book you almost don’t want to start right before school. It’s going to be hard to put down and concentrate on your schoolwork.

Edith Pattou took the fairy tale, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and created a fantasy novel from it. In a clever twist, she sets it in a very specific time and place: Norway in the 1600’s. Rose, the girl who rides the east, west, north and south winds in the fable, knows nothing of the world of trolls and enchantment until the White Bear comes to ask her to come with him.

He has been enchanted. Rose almost breaks the enchantment, but tragically for him, her curiosity got the better of her, and she lost the opportunity to break the enchantment. Now the White Bear is turned back to a man but is snatched away by the Troll Queeen to be her husband.

Rose must follow, help release him, and together they also try to help the other “softskins” who have been enslaved in the Ice Palace far, far North. This time, Rose is aided by people who represent the 4 winds.

While there is a sad scene in which Rose discovers that the trolls leave sick and old humans exposed to the elements in a big killing area, it is an effective illustration of their cruelty, something that helps Rose recognize how urgent it is to rescue the ex-White Bear.



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