Parents' Guide to

Once Upon a Time in the North

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Brief, action-packed prequel to popular series.

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Is It Any Good?

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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.

Book Details

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