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“The lass” is the youngest of the poor woodcutter’s nine children.  At her birth, she was not even given a name, since she was just another useless daughter.  The lass is a kind girl, and loves most of all to spend time with her oldest brother, Hans Peter, learning the meaning of the mysterious signs that he carves over and over.  When she is given the gift of understanding animals, the lass is content in her life, until one night, a huge bear shows up, asking her to come live with him in his castle for a year and a day.  In return, her family will be made rich.  The lass goes to live with the bear in his enchanted castle, full of enslaved servants, mysterious carvings, and unanswered questions.

George’s retelling of the Nordic fairy tale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is fabulous.  George became passionate about all things Norwegian when she was just a girl, and this passion infuses her book with realistic details.  The details and changes that she makes to the original story only make it more exciting and believable.  This book can proudly take its place amongst the finest of fairy tale retellings.

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