North! Or Be Eaten: The Blog Tour...!
There are few works of children’s fantasy, especially written recently, which fill me with all the delight that I knew as a younger reader. Andrew Peterson’s recent work has done this, capturing my imagination and bringing me so completely into the story he is spinning that I have repeatedly found myself lost in the land of Skree in the company of Janner, Leeli and Tink. This story began in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, where I was introduced to the Igiby family. Now, they feel like old friends.
North! Or Be Eaten chronicles the family as they journey to the Ice Prairies to escape the evil Fangs of Dang and the clutches of Gnag the Nameless. On the way, they must face harrowing trials including the attacks of Toothy Cows and Snickbuzzards (not to be messed with) encounters with the lawless Stranders and even contact with their own weaknesses.
Stylistically, the story reminded me of a humorous Tolkien, with a pinch of C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens. The fluid character of the prose never let me forget that Andrew is a songwriter, and the songs and poems scattered throughout kept that fact fresh in my mind as well.
Not only did I find the story enchanting and engaging, but certain lessons the characters learned related to my life with startling accuracy. For example, when Janner wonders: “Was it worth losing his old life in order to learn the truth of who he was and who he was becoming?” I was right there with him. When Tink complains that he “can’t see what’s ahead” I squinted the eyes of my heart for clearer vision and when Podo reminds the children: “Don’t just follow your heart. Your heart will betray you” I remembered that children’s books are often far deeper than those written for adults.
This book fought for my attention, won it and kept it, and kept me on the edge of my seat. Whether you’re reading aloud, looking for a recommendation for a special young person in your life, or hoping for a good read for yourself, the works of Andrew Peterson will not disappoint.