A young girl uncovers startling secrets.
Astrid has long enjoyed being the only child in the small Norwegian village of Glimmerdal. The energetic 10-year-old spends her days skiing along the hillside and sledding through town, bringing laughter wherever she goes. Astrid’s got lovely parents and an adoring godfather, Gunnvald, and doesn’t want a single thing to change. Of course change does come, first in the form of a new family with children moving to Glimmerdal, and then a mysterious woman whom everyone else in town seems to know already. Astrid, resourceful as ever, digs for answers. Readers looking for a warm and cozy tale to bundle up with on the couch during the winter months will find plenty to enjoy here. Parr’s original Norwegian text, published in 2009, has been compared to Heidi and Pippi Longstocking, and Puzey’s translation effortlessly conveys that sense for American readers. The warm tone and endearing characters do most of the heavy lifting here: Parr’s narrative is structured loosely and paced leisurely. Some younger readers accustomed to the snappy rhythms of American middle-grade fiction may feel an itch here and there for a quicker pace, but for those inclined to hang out with Astrid and Gunnvald—and this includes adults in the mood for a cheery change of pace—the rewards are plentiful. Glimmerdal’s population is evidently all white.
An excellent translation of a contemporary European classic. (Fiction. 8-12, adult)