Parents' Guide to

Jack Frost: The Guardians of Childhood

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Jack Frost origin story is reassuring but confusing.

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The concept behind this series, that there are guardians who watch over childhood, is reassuring, and the art is William Joyce at his most mythic, but the story can be hard to follow and confusing. Joyce links Jack Frost to Nightlight, a character he introduced in a previous book who helped save the Man in the Moon. After a battle with Pitch (another character previously introduced), Nightlight was "no longer a creature of the Golden Age, but an icy boy of Earth," who becomes known as "Jackson Overland Frost." Jack is lost and lonely, and his feelings are frozen, but he's redeemed when he takes an oath to watch over the children of Earth.

The art is magical, and some of the writing soars: Jack sails "from night to day and back again in less time than it takes to sing a lullaby." But much of the story is handled as if in quick recap, with references to characters or events from previous stories flying by, and the switch from Nightlight to Jack Frost adds to the confusion. Is he Nightlight or Jack Frost, and why is the attribute we've traditionally associated with Jack Frost -- sending us snow -- seen in this story as negative, not magical?

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