Themes of interdependence, respect for the environment, and personal initiative permeate this imaginative fantasy from Iceland.
Concerned about an economic crisis, adults are tempted by a new technology to abdicate responsibility, leaving the mess for others to solve. Shut yourself in a TimeBox and emerge not a day older once the unpleasantness has passed! Sigrun awakens unexpectedly to a world reclaimed by nature, while her parents remain in limbo, their boxes sealed shut. She meets a boy who leads her to a house where other children have gathered as an elderly woman relates an ancient saga of a princess whose devoted father violated the guiding principle behind the powers of animal communication entrusted to him, using animals to conquer human nations. The miserably overprotected princess, trapped in a casket of spiders’ silk so fine that it shuts out time, ultimately pays the price for his hubris—the rest of the world does not go unscathed, either. Within this story within the story lies both a lesson for the children and the opportunity to undo the present-day damage wrought by their negligent elders. Readers will enjoy spotting references to familiar fairy tales and puzzling out the connections between the two storylines. At times magical and romantic but often tragic and brutal (sometimes graphically so and also reflected in occasional coarse language), this book will reward thoughtful readers. Limited physical descriptions indicate a white default.
The power of story animates a tale that communicates—but is not overpowered by—urgent messages. (Fantasy. 9-12)