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Once Upon a Time in the North
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Decades before Lyra's birth, a young Lee Scoresby pilots his recently acquired balloon to the Arctic, where he gets involved in a deadly confrontation between the government, an oil baron with a private army, a crooked politician, a ship's captain, and a hired killer from Lee's past. Teaming up for the first time with armored bear Iorek Byrnison. Lee risks his life to help the captain. Includes a board game, \"Peril of the Pole.\"
Is it any good?
This, like its predecessor, Lyra's Oxford, is a brilliant author at play. Having created one of the greatest fantasy epics, His Dark Materials, both Pullman (like Tolkien before him) and his many fans are reluctant to leave the vivid world and marvelous characters he created. So here he offers a little backstory: the first meeting of two of readers' favorite characters: aeronaut Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison. The series is so rich that there is a possibility for many such little tales, as many as the author cares to make.
In addition to the rip-roaring, action-packed story, the book itself is a pleasure. A hardcover the size of a paperback, it fits comfortably in the hand or coat pocket. Creamy paper bound in rough cloth is filled with little woodcut illustrations, documents, news articles, and even a related board game tucked into an envelope attached to the back cover. The care that went into creating this shows -- it's a gift for Pullman's devoted readers.