Illustrator: Erin McGuire
“A boy got a splinter in his eye, and his heart turned cold. Only two people noticed. One was a witch, and she took him for her own. The other was his best friend.” Black-and-white illustrations.
JLG Release: Feb 2012
Awards & Honors
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books 2011, Fiction; SLJ Best Books of 2011, Fiction; Amazon.com Best Books of 2011, Children's Middle Grade; Booklist Lasting Connections of 2012, Social Studies; BCCB 2011 Blue Ribbon, Fiction; 2012 Notable Children's Book in the English Language Arts; 2012 CCBC Choices; 2011 Cybils Awards, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Elementary/Middle Grade, Finalist
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Book List, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*
School Library Journal
Hazel Anderson’s 10-year-old world is teetering on the unsteady foundation of her parents’ separation, as she is now at a new school where she feels like an outsider, both as a dreamer and as an adoptee from South Asia. She is bullied and misunderstood, and her best friend, Jack, is spending more time with hi [STARRED REVIEW]
Hazel Anderson’s 10-year-old world is teetering on the unsteady foundation of her parents’ separation, as she is now at a new school where she feels like an outsider, both as a dreamer and as an adoptee from South Asia. She is bullied and misunderstood, and her best friend, Jack, is spending more time with his male friends than with her. When a demon drops a shard of an enchanted mirror into his eye and he becomes drugged and manic under its influence, he accompanies the Snow Queen into the woods. During her search for him, Hazel’s realistic world collides with surreal fantasy and she is thrown into the eerie, threatening woods of broken and transformed fairy tales. She encounters shadowy threats in the form of creepy, unscrupulous adults who have their own agendas and victims: a girl ensnared in the body of a bird, and children trapped as flowers. Hazel’s challenge consists largely in persisting in her quest to rescue Jack despite her insecurity about their friendship and the lack of a breadcrumb path in a confusing world. Unlike the triumphant ending of Andersen’s “Snow Queen,” Hazel’s rescue of Jack and its aftermath is realistically bittersweet. Jack is who he is, a boy who is growing away from her. It is Hazel who is changed by her experience, and who learns to approach her life with positive energy. Although this is a fantasy, its grounding in psychological realism and focus on Hazel’s feelings makes it a fine choice for readers who prefer realistic fiction. Ursu’s multilayered, dreamlike story stands out from the fantasy/quest pack.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.8; Points: 9;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 4.4; Points: 16;