Parents' Guide to

West of the Moon

By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Enslaved girl escapes master in riveting historical tale.

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WEST OF THE MOON is a fascinating tale told from a unique perspective that will draw readers right into Astri’s difficult and very real situation. The allusions she makes to folktales might at first make readers hope this is a fantasy and that some magical force will help Astri overcome her hardships, but the real story that emerges through the references to trolls and magical princes is riveting and moving. Though Astri’s morals are often ambiguous, her determination to get herself and her sister out of increasingly bad situations is a force to be reckoned with, and readers will root for her and understand her motives.

Preus offers a unique look at the way folktales influenced rural Norway and how they were interwoven into the Christian doctrines and Western medicine that became more widespread in the mid-19th century. Lille Carre's woodcut-like illustrations that introduce each section add to the charm of the story.

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