Title: North Child
Written by: Edith Pattou
Edited by: Rebecca Hill
Cover illustrated by: Clare Lefevre
Published by: Usborne
A very cleverly written novel that uses a succession of monologues from each of the main characters – Rose, her father, her brother Neddy, the White Bear and the Troll Queen – to weave Rose’s story, which is based on the Norwegian fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Each of them with their own distinct voice.
We learn Rose was accidentally born facing North. Her mother believes this means she is destined to travel far from home on a dangerous journey. Rose’s love of weaving appeases her mother but Rose’s loyalty to her family and her thirst for adventure are stretched at the seams. Despite all her mother’s efforts to keep Rose home, the prophecy comes true. Rose makes a deal with the giant White Bear. She agrees to go with him if he saves her sister’s life. Rose is whisked away to an enchanted castle.
In the castle, she befriends, Tuki, a troll child and starts to learn his language. Apart from the White Bear, Tuki and his mother Urda, Rose does not meet anyone else in the castle but each night a silent stranger lays by her side in the big bed. She has been warned never to look at him and nearly lasts the whole year but her curiosity gets the better of her and she stares into the golden-haired man’s eyes. Immediately the castle and all its contents vanish.
The Troll Queen takes the White Bear away in her sleigh and the only clue to where he has gone are the White Bear’s words: East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Rose realises she has deep feelings for the White Bear. Wearing his ring she vows to rescue him. Her quest takes her on a perilous journey North where she meets many distinct characters to help her on her way. Edith Pattou creates an mesmerising icy palace where the final battle against the Troll Queen must be fought. Rose’s honesty and integrity sets her on the winning path.
The novel encompasses the themes of temptation, loss and betrayal wrapped in a blanket of magic. The short monologues are quick and easy to read and follow a chronological sequence to build up Rose’s world, feelings and adventure.
A great story for reading aloud to your children at bedtime that will have them hooked from the start.