A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Norse Mythology is a novelistic account of ancient Scandinavian myths, retold by Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book and many other award-winning titles. The book is set from the birth of the universe to Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. The Norse gods go on adventures and engage in great contests. Things often turn violent -- Thor kills enemies (usually giants) with his magic hammer -- but the descriptions of the mayhem are not likely to disturb most readers. There's little sexual content (Loki somehow gives birth to a magic horse), and only a little drinking, mostly of mead.
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What's the story?
From the birth of the universe to the Twilight of the Gods, NORSE MYTHOLOGY casts a new light on the stories told by the ancient Norsemen. The reader learns how Odin, the king of the gods, lost his eye and where it went, how the trickster Loki nearly lost the sun and the moon to a giant in disguise, how Thor visited the Land of the Giants. Each tale, however, is another step closer to Ragnarok, when the gods will fall in a colossal final battle.
Is it any good?
Anyone interested in world mythology is likely to be fascinated by this new version of ancient tales. Norse myths come from an oral tradition, so there are many missing tales and contradictory endings, but leave it to master fantasist Neil Gaiman to find a way to weave these surviving tales together with clarity and aplomb in Norse Mythology. Gaiman's prose is smooth and supple, with none of the stuffiness one might expect. He clearly delineates the characteristics of the main set of gods and presents the large supporting cast with a minimum of confusion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the tales in Norse Mythology have inspired other books, comics, and movies. What attracts modern audiences to these ancient legends?
What do the myths imply about life in the ancient north? Was daily existence difficult? Did it have a softer side?
Loki can't seem to help but cause trouble for himself and others. How should you treat people like that?
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