Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Breadcrumbs

As winter begins to come closer to its final curtain call, this may be the perfect book to read, or you may hate it for the simple fact that you're reading about more snow. I tend to adore books out of season--winter readings in warm weather and summer stories during the coldest days--but that's just me. I read this at the very start of winter, October into November to be specific, and I desired to wrap myself in warm blankets and watch snow fly. It's that type of book, so be prepared, your head will be full of snowflakes.

Breadcrumbs is geared toward independent readers who may just be getting comfortable with longer chapter books; however, it can be enjoyed by people of any age. I certainly enjoyed it and long have passed the days of my first chapter books. When I was little, my mother often read Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales to me. All of theses stories hold a very special place in my heart. The Snow Queen, what Breadcrumbs is based on, was a winter's tale made all the more special when I began reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Snow Queens were extremely interesting and this was all before Frozen made them cool (ha!).

Nonetheless, we're given a beautiful chapter book for kids and pre-teens which takes the story of The Snow Queen and makes it a present day tale. I really enjoyed this book, particularly because it deals with a lot of heavier topics, yet gently so that it's not overdoing it or appearing preachy.

Hazel, our friendly main character, is dealing with a slew of issues at home. Her father has left and is set to marry someone else and Hazel is struggling to understand the change. She's introverted and prefers her own little world. Having few friends, she keeps Jack--her neighbor and best friend--close to her. Hazel also is a breath of fresh air in the literary world. She's adopted from India and doesn't quite fit into the Scandinavian-looking population of Minnesota. So here we have a girl who is a little awkward, a little out of place, a child that was adopted and doesn't quite visibly fit in with her surroundings, but she has the love of her best friend and mother which matters so, so much.

I love Hazel, I fell for her completely. She's a fantastic character and I feel that I would love to have a child with her personality.

Beside the dealings of adoption and divorce we have Jack who, while having both parents at home, has a mother who is suffering from depression. Depression is often something you'll see in YA novels but it affects adults and thereby children as well. My father went through a bout of depression when I was a little younger than Jack and I understand how that can affect a child. It's pleasing to see it presented in an independent reader book.

So we have these two kids who are dealing with a lot of shit that's going on in their lives. They easily depend on each other and with the main focus being on Hazel, we know how much she depends on her friendship with Jack. However, there's magic afoot and when Jack has a piece of glass lodged into his eye from a magic, broken mirror, things start to grow strange.

Jack has a new attitude, one that completely ignores Hazel, and soon after he's drawn away from the comforts of home and into the cold world of the Snow Queen. Hazel, confused by Jack's change of heart and concerned for him, begins to follow his trail and enters another world that's hidden in a nearby wood.

In this world, she is introduced to multiple creatures and people who have small references to various children's fairy tales. She's left uncertain of who she should trust. People who appear willing to help and with decent soles end up being as much of monsters as the actual monsters. Hazel travels alone but bravely continues to make her way to the Snow Queen's kingdom.

This story is one that so focuses on the mind and emotions. I really enjoyed that aspect and feel it's so worthwhile to discuss the heart and mind of children who are approaching puberty. There is such a wild amount of emotions, feelings, and thoughts during those charged years and this novel handles them all with such grace. 

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