Parents' Guide to

The Twistrose Key

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Magical animal-afterlife adventures of a girl and her mouse.

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A Norwegian who majored in English literature, animal lover and first-time author Tone Almhiell concocts a richly imaginative world, intriguing characters, and a fast-moving adventure. Both in Lin's regular life and in the snowy world of Sylver, there's a strong Scandinavian sensibility, from the scholarly pursuits of Lin's parents to Sylver's panoply of magical snow creatures. Ian Schoenherr's black-and-white illustrations of cozy towns and spellbound landscapes help bring Sylver to life.

Almhiell's turns of phrase are sometimes jarring to the American ear (e.g. Lin's father usually addresses her as "Miss Rosenquist," and she and Rufus punctuate their conversation with frequent "One point to Rufus of Rosenquist" and the like), but it's worth the effort to follow her densely crafted definitions of landscapes, emotional and otherwise: "In the troll hunt, they always used code names...[She] had taken a new one, inspired by the rosebush over Rufus's grave...It reminded her of the junipers that clung to the Trollheim Mountains with their twisted roots; they never let go no matter how cruel the wind blew. And that's when she had thought of it -- the perfect name for a troll hunter who was exiled for the moment, but not forever: Twistrose."

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