Twice and thrice told, the Norse myths take on a new earthy robustness in this version, evidence of the Norwegian origin of its authors. The reader is propelled into a distant but very particular past as the frost giant, Ymir, first of the race of the jotuns, emerges from a dark and dismal pit, the hornless ice cow mooing at his side; and the cow licks and licks the salty brim of the pit, and under her warm tongue a head of hair sprouts and soon the first of the gods comes forth. With equal specificity, each of the gods is introduced and their stories unfold; with singular vigor and truth to his own nature, each goes at last to his doom. The nature of the treatment appears immediately from this comparison with Hosford: H -- ""When Sife woke and discovered the loss of her beautiful hair, she went weeping to Thor""; d'A -- ""Great was Thor's horror when he woke up one morning and saw a cropped head next to his! During the night someone had sneaked in and had cut off all of Sife's beautiful hair. There was nothing worse for a woman than the shame of a bald head..."" Virile rather than graceful and much more humorous and direct, this is preeminently for younger boys and for girls who can stand the gore--which brings us to the often ugly illustrations. Some are so by intent, some by accident, and many of them might be Wagner interpreted by the mad Van Gogh--but they do have impact. Leaving aside Colum an Coolidge for the older children, you'll get them young and hold them fast with this.