Translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent
Illustrated by P. J. Lynch
Candlewick Press, 1992.
Picture book and informational book.
This Scandinavian fairy-tale is a variation on the same theme recognized in Beauty and The Beast or Cupid and Psyche. Essentially, a young girl gets carried off. When she tries to find out who this mysterious man and/or beast is, some terrible calamity happens and she has to put the pieces of the relationship back together. It's a tale as old as time.
In this version, a poor family allows a great white bear to carry away their youngest daughter in exchange for wealth. During the day he is a bear, but each night he becomes a man that lies down to sleep next to the heroine. After a visit to her family, the young lady takes the advice of her mother to spy on her strange roommate. After the man (bear) falls asleep, the young lady lights a candle and realizes he is a handsome prince. Unfortunately, she spills wax on him, waking him up and causing him to have to fulfill a curse to marry a troll... go figure. A lot of other stuff happens after that, but you get the idea.
This book has beautiful illustrations but a lot of words, so be prepared to invest some time. After graduating from the picture book, there are quite a few chapter book versions to explore. Check out East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.