by Bruce Coville, published 2005
“I had never been in the Great Hall of Asgard before. Even from outside, it was the most amazing building I had ever seen, vaster and grander than I could have imagined possible…”
The Norse myth of Thor’s hammer is well-known among Waldorf students, especially the third graders. The story of Thor and his hammer is often the subject of the class play. However, truth be told, I’ve never read the original, despite the fact that it is quite short. Therefore, I was eager to read this children’s book, which purports to be a re-telling of the myth in simpler modern language. I was not disappointed. The author brings humor and drama to the situation, while keeping all the original characters and plot. At the end of the book, he notes which parts he added to make the short poem into a medium length children’s book.
This children’s book is very easy to get through, and would make a nice complement to the third graders after they work with the original Norse myth. It could also be read by a fourth grade student, who would get even more of the humor. There are one or two very minor inaccuracies in the details of the myth, but you have to account for them as artistic license in this case.
It’s always a question whether taking a classic and updating the language is useful or not. I think that it’s not necessary to choose, and that in this case, having a modern children’s book is worthwhile, whether it is read as a stand-alone story, or support reading the classic. Ages 8 to 11