Common Sense Media says

Brilliant tale of girl's enchanted-woods search for friend.

Users say

(out of 15 reviews)
age 10+
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Parent of a 7, 10, and 12 year old Written byWordGirlTN February 14, 2012

A Book Worth Sharing

Breadcrumbs was, quite simply, a beautiful book. I loved the story of Hazel and her friendship with Jack. I loved the writing. I loved the mix of reality and fantasy. I love that it is a book recommended to me by my ten year old daughter and that I enjoyed it as much as she did. Hazel is a fifth grader whose personal life is in upheaval: her parents are divorced, her father is about to remarry, she's attending a new school and her best friend is acting strange, then disappears. How much change can a ten year old endure? More than adults think. While this was a thoroughly entertaining book, I loved that the themes it addressed were deep and true. I think Hazel's experience of a new school that doesn't value her unique way of learning is more painful than any adult around her realizes. Maybe the changes to her friendship with Jack are inevitable, but that doesn't make them any less difficult to endure. Jack's desire to disappear from his own life (populated by a mother with depression and an overworked father) is all too familiar. How often do I choose to numb myself rather than experience the pain around me? That Jack does this in a fairy tale setting instead of with books, TV or movies doesn't make it any less relevant. In writing Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu has blurred the line between a coming of age tale and a fairy tale. We see Hazel struggling to find a place where she fits and we see her do something extraordinary when she leaves the known world to rescue Jack. Not only does she tell an excellent story, Ursu tells the story with excellent writing. This is paragraph made me stop reading and ask my daughter, "Did you love this book for its story or its writing?" "Both," she replied. Here's why: "Now, the world is more than it seems to be. You know this, of course, because you read stories. You understand that there is the surface and then there are all the things that glimmer and shift underneath." (excerpt from Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu) Ursu has done what I consider to be a difficult task, but one that is beautiful when done well: she's written a book about children and for children that is not the least bit childish. I never longed for more depth of character with Hazel. I never doubted her actions or had trouble reconciling them with what I knew of her. She was real to me and I believed every word of her story. If you want to remind yourself of all of the ways that our world is more than it seems, if you want to escape your reality for the wonder of a fairy tale or if you want to remember what it was like to see and believe the magic of stories, Hazel's journey in Breadcrumbs would make a fine companion for you - and for the young reader in your life.
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Parent of a 9 year old Written byMamaBearNJ December 4, 2012

Somewhat gloomy retelling of The Snow Queen

Nothing off-color, nothing bloody, nothing nearly as frightening as parts of the original, but this modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's classic fairy tale The Snow Queen just seemed to me to deliver too much depression and too little joy. As in the original fairy tale, a girl sets off into a dangerous magical landscape to rescue a boy who had been her friend, but has turned cold to her. However, in Ursu's modern retelling, the boy's enchantment by the Snow Queen is psychologized somewhat. He seeks the numbness the Snow Queen offers because he's depressed by his mother's unresponsiveness (seemingly in the throes of mental illness, although it's never explained). To throw in a SPOILER WHICH YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ IF YOU INTEND TO READ THE BOOK ANYWAY, the issues with the boy's family are never resolved, and though the boy and girl become friends again, there's no sense of a new understanding between them that would make what they've gone through seem worthwhile. To my tastes, that made the book unsatisfying and far sadder than the original. The happy ending seemed pallid and meager compared to the glowing, joyous ending of _The Snow Queen_. Although the children originally bonded around their love of fantasy, the book's fantasy elements only figure as threats, which paradoxically almost seems to send an anti-fantasy message. All in all, if I wanted to recommend a fantasy to a child dealing with issues of betrayal in friendship, I'd sooner recommend the original than this retelling: it offers more hope.
Kid, 12 years old January 6, 2012

Ineptly named book is a fun retelling of The Snow Queen!

Breadcrumbs is essentially a retelling of The Snow Queen, and as such, is a fantasy adventure where the girl undertakes a fairly dangerous quest to rescue her best friend, the boy. However, Breadcrumbs (the book is badly named...there are no Hansel and Gretel references) is a modern day version of the story, and deals with issues that are more realistic. The first half of the book deals with Hazel's life. Her dad has left her, and she has trouble making her mom understand what is going on in her life. Since she is now living with just her mom, there is no money for her to continue going to the same school, and she has trouble fitting in at her new one. Her best friend, Jack, is a boy, and the other kids tease her. Hazel is a very creative girl and an avid reader, but none of her teachers appear to understand or appreciate her. Jack's mom has some problems...most likely depression. With her life as it stands, it is no wonder Hazel decides to rescue Jack when he gets kidnapped by the Snow Queen, even though Jack has changed and he knows their friendship will too. In the forest, there are scary red shoes that dance you to your death, good wolves, evil woodcutters, and more. Hazel is attacked by a woman, getting a nasty scar, when she takes a swan suit. This scene may be a bit disturbing to younger readers. Another adapted Snow Queen scene is tragic. There is a cottage in the woods maintained by an old couple who take in little girls, and, in desire to keep them forever, turn them into flowers. Overall, the story has a strong message of friendship. There are many Narnia references (one of the more obvious is when the Snow Queen takes Jack: she says "Would you like some Turkish delight?"), and those who have read Narnia will find the story more fun, and will take more out of it. Girls and boys should both enjoy the story, but boys may not enjoy reading about Hazel rescuing Jack as much as girls will.
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Kid, 10 years old February 24, 2012

Retelling of the snow queen is marvelous!

Breadcrumbs is a beautiful book, filled with heart, friendship, and determination. The main character, Hazel, is kind and caring for her friend Jack, and is very kind to (almost) everyone she meets in the woods. There is one scene that some kids may find upsetting or scary, when Hazel gets badly wounded because of an evil witch scratching her on the face with her claws. Also, it deals briefly about anger because Hazel throws a pencil case at a boy who insults her and later, has to see the school counselor. Overall, Breadcrumbs is a great book that I recommend to you.
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Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymda_dancer15 May 19, 2015

What I think

I think it's a very appropriate book for 10 year olds- 9 year olds could read it if they are in advanced reading or really understand the scenes and vocabulary. It has nice description and I like the pictures- they help understand what is going on in the book!
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Kid, 10 years old January 22, 2012

A good book, with positive messages.

Breadcrumbs is based on the fairytale The Snow Queen. It also has references from the Narnia series. I think it's good for kids 9 and up. It's about a girl, Hazel, who has trouble settling in at her school. Her best friend Jack starts acting meanly, because a piece of glass that makes you mean gets in his eye. She is told that a witch made of ice took him to the woods. Hazel goes out into the woods to try to find him, and goes through a dangerous adventure to get him back. Finally she finds Jack and takes him home. In this book Hazel becomes a good role model, and makes many hard decisions.
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Parent of a 11 year old Written byKirian June 25, 2014

A depressing adventure

This book is about a girl and boy who are drifting apart as they get older. Consumed with depression over his mother's mental illness, the boy is taken by the Snow Queen. The girl goes after him, has some frightening adventures, and ultimately rescues him. Sort of. At the end of the book nothing has changed. The boy's mother is still suffering and unable to be an effective parent, and the pair's friendship is as good as over. The main character's loyalty to her friend is admirable, but I would not give this book to any child that wants happy endings.
Teen, 14 years old Written bytweetybird7233 November 13, 2012

Great

When I was bored I read this. It was great and Anne Ursu did a great job!
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Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymda_dancer15 May 19, 2015

What I think

I think it's a very appropriate book for 10 year olds- 9 year olds could read it if they are in advanced reading or really understand the scenes and vocabulary. It has nice description and I like the pictures- they help understand what is going on in the book!
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Parent Written byEliaturcios September 25, 2014
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Kid, 11 years old December 16, 2012

Breadcrumbs' Worthiness According to Kreckle

Breadcrumbs is a fairly nice book, though it mostly drags on for the first part. The real action doesen't take place until part 2, if I remember correctly. Hazel is a good role model but really, clingy. She mopes about Jack way too much and sometimes it does not feel as if she is moping about Jack but just being depressed in general. Her behavior makes the plot drag on, so keep waiting until the action implodes her mopiness... Regarding violence and scariness, some parts are rather creepy, but aren't very bad, unless you are very sensitive. It has great illustrations and some interesting stuff, but overall, it makes for quick, good entertainment. Some deep messages. Coolness.
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Teen, 13 years old Written byEnvironment May 6, 2015

Pretty Good

This is a great book for young children in around 4th grade. The writing style is lighthearted and fun, but can be drab.
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Teen, 16 years old Written bykp227879 November 18, 2016

Breadcrumbs

This book is amazing. A girl name Hazel has a friend boy and his name is Jack. They have been really best friends since they were kids. One day Hazel and Jack were playing snow fight and Hazel through a snowball at Jack and it landed on his eye, till that day Jack started to hang out with this boys that Hazel did not like does boys were annoying. One day a snow witch appeared when he was skating and Hazel was waching him on the window, the witch ask Jack if he wanted to go with her so he said ¨Yes¨. Hazel saw that Jack was not their so she went to look for him so she found this really weird woods and she saw a lot of weird thing in the wood, until Hazel found Jack and told him that they had to go but he did not want to go so at the end Hazel convince him so they went home.
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Kid, 11 years old April 22, 2013

Pretty boring

I found it boring. I didn't quite understand the ending. There wasn't the adventure I though I would see.
Kid, 10 years old June 25, 2012

Awesome book

This book is awesome! Anne Ursu uses detailed sentences and the illustrations in the book are amazing! Make sure to get it in hardcover it's worth the money. Enjoy!
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