Friday, February 10, 2017

East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon

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

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