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The Princess and the White Bear King [With CD]


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The team behind The Faerie's Gift present a tale that combines elements from East of the Sun and West of the Moon, The Black Bull of Norroway and The White Bear King (according to an afterword) into one seamless fairytale. "In the North, where the thickly-needled pine forests are deep and dark and the snow falls bride-white, there once lived three Princesses," the book's incantatory narrative begins. The youngest princess (never named) dreams of a golden crown, which leads to an encounter with a great white bear that carries her off to live with him in lonely splendor. Youngsters familiar with Beauty and the Beast will recognize the turn of events when the heroine uses deceit to catch a glimpse of him and nearly ruins their chance for happiness. The bear (really a prince) must return to the Troll Queen who enchanted him, high atop a glass mountaintop. On her journey "east of the sun and west of the moon" to free him, the princess encounters kind strangers in homes that seem to spring up from barren landscapes. Ceccoli uses tilted perspectives and subtly clashing colors to convey a world in which anything could happen, and sets the stage for the strangers' gifts to make magic (one wonderful spread depicts food tumbling out of an enchanted tablecloth to feed a starving family). Ceccoli makes the snowy north an appealing place to visit. A satisfying confection. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Gr 1-4-An original tale combining elements from several Norwegian folktales including "The White Bear King," "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," and "The Black Bull of Norraway." A princess dreams of a beautiful golden crown and eventually encounters a bear in the frozen forest that possesses it. She passes a test and returns with him to an exquisite castle. Every night he enters her chamber quietly and sleeps on the floor next to her bed. The Princess's mother convinces her to look at him even though the bear had warned, "Do not listen to your mother's advice, for if you do, bad luck will befall us both." Indeed, the bear/prince now tells her that he must flee to the terrible Troll Queen and marry her. What follows is the Princess's long journey to be reunited with him. She meets three women along the way who give her items that help her outwit the Troll Queen. The deeply saturated acrylic illustrations magnify the adventure, offering varied perspectives and highlighting the magic of the northern landscape. This story begs to be told aloud and is a fresh addition to most library shelves.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"This story begs to be told aloud." -- School Library Journal "School Library Journal"

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