Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Tale of Jack Frost by David Melling

 The Tale of Jack Frost by David Melling

Rating: 4 frost-filled stars

I got a sneak peak at how Lorelei and Ben will react to fantasy stories like the Hobbit series and Redwall books with this tale of Jack Frost.  I hadn't realized how scary some of the scenes might be until we were mid-book, but I plunged ahead with my usual oh-I'm-sure-it'll-be-fine attitude.  I'm glad I did; they loved the story and the magic of Jack Frost got under their skin a bit.  Melling's beautiful illustrations are a perfect amount of scary for children--the goblins aren't friendly, but the befuddled looks they have gives them a humorous slant, so hopefully no child will lose sleep over them.

I grabbed this book at the library because the mornings have been downright chilly here in Virginia.  I don't love the cold, but I do appreciate how frost decorates our deck and leaves swirls on my Suburban.  Here is the fairy tale that accompanies those images:

Jack is a little boy ("a real boy!") who wakes up in an enchanted forest, barely clothed and alone.  The animals--from hedgehogs and beetles to unicorns and "skitlets"--all circle around him, curious and afraid.  When the little boy wakes, he remembered nothing, not even his name.  The animals take him in, teach him all the know--both magical and mundane tasks.  But his skin is snow white and always ice cold.  Whatever he touches turns to frost."  So he was named Jack Frost.

Funny looking creatures peered around each other, and even the trees
shuffled forward for a better look.
One day, goblins enter the forest, wanting to steal the magic from the animals.  They kidnap Jack Frost, thinking he can give them the magic.  Instead, he gives them a trick: Jack promises to help them catch the sun.  "Every night the sun goes to sleep in a lake by the forest.  It is full of magic and easy to catch."  The goblins and Jack then circle a lake and see the reflection of the moon, which Jack explains is actually the reflection of the sun.  He dips his finger into the lake and it quickly turns to ice.  They pick up the frozen "sun" and carry it off as Jack returns to his friends before the "sun" melts.

But melt it does, and the goblins are, of course, upset.  As they run after Jack, they step into magical puddles that makes them freeze in their tracks.  (Hmm...can I get some of that stuff?)  Jack laughss but gives them magical sunflowers to hold that will eventually melt them, so the goblins stare with stiff grins and chattering teeth, unable to chase him further.

And the frost you see in mornings like this morning in Virginia is proof that Jack Frost left the enchanted forest to leave little spells of magic, just for your kids to wake up to and smile at.

The story helps make winter mornings a little warmer, and...shouldn't we all believe in a bit of magic?

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