xoxoxoe’s #CBR5 Review #14: D’Aulaire’s Norse Gods & Giants

I grew up with D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Mythsa wonderful book full of fabulous interpretations of the wild lives of the gods, complete with illustrations by the talented husband and wife children’s book team, Ingri and Parin D’Aulaire. I spent hours reading and re-reading these stories, trying to draw Aphrodite, Dionysus and the other gods and goddesses that the D’Aulaires portrayed in their distinctive lithographs.

I remember seeing their book on the Norse Gods when I was a kid. I must have taken it out of the library, but I frankly don’t remember it at all. When I was with the kid at the library the other day and saw D’Aulaire’s Norse Gods & Giants (reprinted recently as D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths) again I grabbed it, figuring it would be like my favorite Greek myth book. Well, sorta. The illustrations are as wonderful as one would expect. But the stories — they are so very, very different from the Greek myths. The Norse pantheon, although it shares a superficial resemblance to the Greeks, with creation stories and Odin as the head of the gods, is full of very distinct and different personalities from Zeus and his brother and sister gods and goddesses.

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Battling a frost giant

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Ygdrassil

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Loki plans his next trick

The D’Aulaires seem to be having a great time telling stories about the world of the Norse gods, including the world tree, Ygdrassil, Valhalla, and the gods’ ultimate destiny, Ragnarokk. Fans of comic books and recent superhero moves will recognize some of the main players — Odin the all father, hammer-wielding Thor, the god of thunder, and the shape shifting trickster, Loki, as well as the lovely Freya and the Valkyrie. The D’Aulaires’ books are geared towards children, but their retelling of these classic stories are dense and layered and could be equally enjoyed by adults. I’m glad I got a chance to find this book again.

You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e

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llp’s #CBR V Review 5: Cats, Dogs, Men, Women, Ninnies and Clowns: The Lost Art of William Steig by Jeanne Steig

imagesThis is a lovely book, beautifully bound and filled with interesting art and anecdotes.

Clevaahgirl’s #CBR5 Review #2: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

In order to keep myself active in this game I’ve chosen to create a visual response to each book I read instead of writing a traditional review.  I will still rate each book and give a few words in response.

Look how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. - Anne Frank

Look how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. – Anne Frank

It destroyed me.  I found myself returning to both the quote that inspired my illustration and the following passage over the days that followed for comfort.

This is where Mother and I differ greatly.  Her advice in the face of melancholy is: “Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you’re not part of it.” My advice is: “Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer.  Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy.”

I don’t think Mother’s advice can be right, because what are you supposed to do if you become part of the suffering? You’d be completely lost.  On the contrary, beauty remains, even in misfortune.  If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.  A person who’s happy will make others happy; a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery!

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Clevaahgirl’s #CBR5 Review #1: The Giver by Lois Lowry

In order to keep myself active in this game I’ve chosen to create a visual response to each book I read instead of writing a traditional review.  I will still rate each book and give a few words in response.

The Giver with border

Thought I’d start off the year with books I missed as a kid.  This one didn’t do too much for me,  though I think it definitely would have if I had read it when I was young.  At this point I’ve absorbed enough of this genre that every plot twist was broadcast from the beginning.

I found some of it’s imagery to be intriguing, and the story was entertaining enough for a one day read, but ultimately I wasn’t satisfied.   As a kid, the outline of the society presented here would have been enough to sate my imagination, but having become accustomed to the elaborate world creation of book series such as Harry Potter or Song of Ice and Fire, I found this one lacking.

For my visual response, I tried to explore the book’s theme of coming of age and suddenly seeing what was there all along.

 

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