East of the Sun, West of the Moon
by Jackie Morris, published 2013
“So her days and nights passed and rolled into weeks and months, and she lived in the enchanted palace with the bear. Each afternoon she would turn from whatever she was doing to see the bear standing, watching her…”
A children’s book retelling a classic fairy tale is always a welcome addition to the library. In this case, the tale is just slightly updated to be modern in its opening, but it’s still the classic tale, a mixture of Beauty and the Beast, and Psyche and Cupid. The ending, however, is not according to the classic versions, which gives an interesting twist.
The art of retelling a fairy tale lies in making it alive, and feel fresh, even though you know the plot. This version does that with beautiful descriptive language of the landscape and the characters. Interspersed here and there are exquisite illustrations. The entire edition of this children’s book is first class, beautifully crafted.
The story brings alive the question of following one’s dream, and is a classic love story. In some ways, I was somewhat surprised by the ending, as it somewhat minimizes the romantic point. At the same time, it does make one rethink the old paradigm of the trajectory that love takes.
This children’s book is definitely a girl’s book, through and through. I also feel it is for older girls, as it definitely reflects a coming of age children’s book, with a young girl transformed into a young woman. I would say ages 12 and up.