A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
An introduction to morally complicated mythological stories, Norse mythology in particular, and Viking raiders.
Might does not make right in this story. Cleverness, stoic bravery, and a willingness to look beyond the surface of things make Odd a very admirable hero.
Positive Role Models
Odd’s family came together in an unusual way, but there is a strong current of love tying the three together. The gods exhibit some of the less admirable human qualities, such as deceitfulness, lust and greed, bellicosity, pettiness.
Violence & Scariness
The backdrop is one of brutality: Viking raids and crippling accidents, allusions to physical and verbal abuse, tales of violent confrontations between gods and giants.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Fleeting references, common in mythology, such as Loki’s scheming to “have my fun” with a beautiful woman.
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Very brief, occasional curses, including a giant talking about Thor’s “damnable hammer.”
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Both villagers and gods overindulge in mead.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this mythological tale features some ugly behavior by both gods and men, but the under-appreciated, underestimated hero poignantly reveals that heart, not brawn, can win some battles. There is some drinking, trickery, greed, and brawling, most of it perpetrated by the gods. Odd’s mother was captured in a Viking raid but was treated lovingly by his father.
Is It Any Good?
This satisfying, compact adventure invites kids to wrestle with some morally ambiguous material, and is a good introduction to the many shades of gray in mythology. The storytelling is focused and tight, and the climactic scene between Odd and the giant offers plenty for kids -- and adults -- to think about. This is a good one to read together, curled up on the sofa, on a wintry day.
Odd lives in a brutal time and place. Might rules and the less strong are bullied and cast aside. No one quite knows what goes on in Odd’s head, and readers don’t get too close to him either. But they readily empathize with him as he seeks the comforting presence of his late father, strikes out on his own, and matter-of-factly sets out to clean up the mess when the gods have thrown up their hands. It’s no surprise that the underdog will find a way to best the mighty Frost Giant, but the moment when Odd begins to strip away the bellowing bravado, the intimidating brute strength to lay bare a lovely truth is breathtaking. “I rule Asgard!” the giant thunders. “Why?” asks Odd. That simple question, one that is never asked enough, proves to be a mighty blow.
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