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Frindleswylde by Natalia and Laura O’Hara

Title: Frindleswylde

A girl flying towards a castle on the back of a bird over a winter landscape. Frindleswylde by Natalia and Laura O'Hara

Author: Natalia and Laura O’Hara

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Walker Books

Published: 3rd November 2021

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 40

Price: $29.99

Synopsis: Can you feel a tremble in the wind? The sun grows pale. The wild things hide. Frindleswylde is coming! A beautiful gift picture book for Christmas.

When the mysterious boy Frindleswylde enters Cora and Grandma’s house in the woods, he steals the light from their lantern. Without it, Grandma will not be able to return home after work in the dark. Cora is determined to get the light back, but first she must follow Frindleswylde down a hole in the pond that leads to his magical frozen kingdom, where he sets her three Impossible Tasks. Reminiscent of The Snow Queen, beautifully written and sumptuously illustrated, Frindleswylde is a classic in the making.

  • A beautifully written and sumptuously illustrated wintry tale, this is the perfect book for the holiday season.
  • A story of enchantment reminiscent of The Snow QueenFrindleswylde is a classic in the making.
  • Lauren O’Hara is the celebrated illustrator of Sophie Dahl’s Madame Badobedah.

~*~

When Cora’s house is plunged into darkness after Frindleswylde steals the light, Cora sets off to get the light back so Grandmother can find her way home. When her journey takes her beneath the pond and into the frozen kingdom of Frindleswylde, he says he will give her the light back – if she can complete three increasingly difficult and seemingly impossible tasks – and Cora is determined to complete them, but will getting her light back be as easy as this?

Frindleswylde has echoes of beloved fairy tales such as The Snow Queen and Rumplestiltskin, and perhaps many more with the theme of three tasks, and a quest that the young hero must complete to reach the goal – a treasure, or returning something, finding something, or reuniting a family. This is beautifully done in a modern way but still feels timeless, and as though the story could have come from the distinct and original oral tradition that so many fairy tales first sprouted from, but this story is a gentler one – where the violence of the originals is absent. Yet it is not a sanitised tale – it has layers of complexity that can be peeled away and understood on so many levels.

For younger readers and those having the tale read to them, this beautifully written and illustrated story tells of a young girl’s adventure as she goes off on her own – something children long to do and falls into a magical world where she faces a fairy tale nemesis and heads off on a spectacular quest adventure. Older readers – confident child readers up to the adult reader may see themes of feminism, girls taking charge, and the power of belief in oneself in this story. It is the kind of book that will have something for all readers, whilst at its heart, being a story book for children – and I believe this is the mark of a good children’s book – where readers of all ages will find something they like and gain from these stories.

Books like this that encapsulate so many different themes are magical – their words, their illustrations, their themes, and the characters – all things that feel so familiar from past stories yet at the same time, have been crafted and created as something new, vibrant, and unique that speaks to how we feel in today’s world of anxiety and isolation, and reassures us that we can work to make everything okay for ourselves and our families.

As someone who has studied fairy tales, books like this always speak to me as a scholar and as a reader, and I hope that there will be many who enjoy reading it.

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