|West of the moon|
Author: Preus, Margi
In nineteenth-century Norway, fourteen-year-old Astri, whose aunt has sold her to a mean goatherder, dreams of joining her father in America.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 165209
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 63307
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/14)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/14)
Booklist (+) (02/15/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/14)
The Hornbook (+) (00/05/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2014 *Starred Review* In the Scandinavian fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” a young girl is taken from her home to a magnificent castle by a great bear, whom she discovers is really a prince. Young Astri is not so lucky—when she is taken away from her aunt’s home, it’s by a hunchbacked goat herder, and she doesn’t sleep in a magnificent castle, but in a cold, filthy cottage in the mountains. Still, she can’t forget the stories and fairy tales that her mother told her before she died—stories that inform how she understands her plight. Perhaps the goat herder is a prince in disguise, and maybe he is hiding troll treasure. Clever, deeply feeling Astri knows what’s real and what’s not, but those stories have power, and they buoy her to do whatever it takes to escape the cruel goat herder; reunite with her sister, Greta; and depart for America, where they will finally be with their father again. Like dun silk shot through with gold, Preus (Heart of a Samurai, 2010) interweaves the mesmerizing tale of Astri’s treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century immigration to America with bewitching tales of magic. A fascinating author’s note only adds to the wonder. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 5–8—Astri is 13 when she is sold by her aunt and uncle to a goat farmer named Svaalberd to serve as an unpaid laborer. Defiant but practical, she spends months with the brutal and superstitious Svaalberd, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the goats, before she escapes the farm with her fellow captive, the mysterious Spinning Girl. Astri fetches her younger sister, Greta, from her aunt and uncle's house, and hightails it with Svaalberd's "treasure" to the coast in order to sail to America. At its most basic, this is a tale about a girl escaping a poverty-stricken life in mid-19th century Norway. But from the beginning, the mystical and wondrous elements of Norwegian folktales are woven into the narrative, lending a timeless quality to a story inspired by the author's family history. The harsh realities of that time period, from rickets to tetanus, take on a strange, magical, and often terrifying aspect, as seen through Astri's naive eyes. She compares her servitude to Svaalberd with the story of White Bear King Valemon, who steals a young girl away, but really, Svaalberd is more like a troll to Astri. Folktales inspire the protagonist and allow her to imagine her own situation as a sort of legend—but in real life, actions have consequences. The decisions Astri makes to survive come to haunt her, and with her regret comes a new maturity, strength, and an ability to face her future in America. Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2014 In the fairy tale young Astri adores, a white bear whisks a pretty girl off for an adventure. Astri’s own story is quite different: a decrepit old goatherd buys her from her conniving aunt and Astri is forced to labor on his farm, enduring threats of physical and sexual violence. Well aware there’s no prince waiting in the wings to save her, Astri manages to steal a pile of coins from the goatherd and takes off, rescuing her little sister from her aunt in the process. Astri’s intent on making it to America, the last place her father was known to be alive, and so she schemes, tricks, and lies, eventually gaining passage for both she and her sister. Once on board, her sister falls ill and Astri is forced to make a bargain with an even more skilled trickster than herself-Death. Elements of familiar folktales, such “The Billy Goat’s Gruff” and, obviously, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” blend seamlessly with historical fact; an author’s note details the family history of immigrant siblings that inspired the story and explains historical and folkloric details. It’s Astri’s voice, however, that is most appealing: her direct, no-nonsense narration has a sharp bite, yet it also reveals the vulnerable young girl who’s willing to continue to fight but is nonetheless exhausted by the weight of her struggle. The chapters have an episodic structure that makes this an ideal choice for readaloud or storytelling adaptations, while the mix of folklore, fact, and fantasy will please fans of Edith Patou’s East (BCCB 10/03). A glossary and a bibliography are appended. KQG - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.