Book Review – Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

March 6, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2015 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Breadcrumbs by Anne UrsuBreadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Illustrator: Erin Mcguire
Published by Walden Pond Press on September 27th 2011
Pages: 312
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy, Wintery
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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three-half-stars

The winner of numerous awards and recipient of four starred reviews, Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs is a stunning and heartbreaking story of growing up, wrapped in a modern-day fairy tale.

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.

In Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu tells, in her one-of-a-kind voice, a story that brings together fifty years of children's literature in a tale as modern as it is timeless. Hazel's journey to come to terms with her evolving friendship with Jack will deeply resonate with young readers.

‘There are things you do not notice until they are gone. Like the certainty that your body is a single whole, that there’s something keeping you from breaking into pieces and scattering with the winds.’

In this modern-day version of The Snow Queen, Hazel undergoes a journey in hopes of finding her best friend Jack after he disappeared when a mysterious piece of glass falls into his eye. Hazel has always felt like an outcast because she’s adopted and her parents recent split up causes her to have to attend a new school. The only upside of this new school is Jack, the only one that ever seems to truly understand Hazel and when he’s last seen walking into the woods with a woman dressed in white, his absence is palpable.

In The Snow Queen, there is a woman dressed in white that rides a sled which is clearly the inspiration behind Jadis, the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The cultural references don’t stop there though seeing as Hazel is such an avid reader and their stories have become etched into her mind. Hogwarts is referenced as well as The Wizard of Oz, The Golden Compass, A Wrinkle in Time, Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth and more than likely a few others I didn’t catch. The first few were fun little additions but as they continued they really managed to divert my attention away from the magic of the actual story.


Illustrations by Erin McGuire

Hazel is still at the age where she views the world through the lens of her imagination, a time when life was much simpler. Narnia and Hogwarts are as real to her as anything else, unfortunately, everyone around her seems to be growing up and leaving her alone within her imagination. Hazel was such a kind-hearted soul that had difficulty understanding how she could be so different and why that was necessarily such a bad thing. It’s impossible not to have the utmost sympathy for this poor girl. This self-exploratory adventure, that muddies the difference between fantasy and reality, in finding her inner strength to be happy and content with who she is was an adventure you felt you were personally undertaking right along with her.

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