Reading Across American–Alaska: The Snow Child–Novel and Fairy Tale

The Novel

Last Friday I posted in the Friday 56 with a few lines from The Snow Child.  You can read that post here. Today it’s time for my review.

“I don’t want to be warm and safe–I want to live.”

I understood the child’s reluctance to come inside, to be warm and safe…and controlled. While the point of this story was not to discuss the emotional struggles of older adopted children, that one line summed it up beautifully. I no longer write about my children–they are both adults now–but this line could have been uttered by one of them. Today I understand it. Back then, not so much as they say now.

Mabel and Jack fulfill a long-time fantasy of mine, to homestead in Alaska. Fantasy for me due to the hard work and, today, the cost of living in Alaska, but it’s always held a strong appeal to me. I’m an introvert and quite happy alone–most of the time. While Jack was made of the stern stuff necessary to homesteading, Mable wasn’t….or so it seemed. It seemed too that Cabin Fever had taken root over a long, dark winter. Or did it….?

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Esther and George and their three boys live nearby. Esther keeps a friendly eye on Mabel and her youngest son becomes a sort of nephew to Jack and Mabel. But none of them have seen the mysterious girl that Jack and Mabel say has visited them–a girl with a pet fox. A girl who lives alone in the vast wilderness. Garrett is Esther and George’s youngest son. Overshadowed by two older brothers, he finds peace and sanctuary in the wilderness.

[Photo is of the scenery that was used in the book as being around the fictional Wolverine River–photo from Letters From Alaska, the author’s blog]

Mabel has a beautiful story book from childhood–a story written in Russian that tells of an elderly couple who long for a child. They make one out of snow. Is this girl their Snow Child?  Can the heat of love and the warmth and safety of home stifle, even “melt” a person?

This is an amazing well-written book, with a story as amazing as the land in which it is set. There is hunting and trapping in this story as is normal in such a setting, but could upset some people not familiar with the life. I enjoyed the many amazing descriptions of nature–of the vastness of Alaska. Mabel’s nature drawings and her descriptions of the scenes written to her sister back East will entice nature study enthusiasts to read this book. The sweetness in this book is the right kind–not cloying, never precious. Book clubs will love this too for the theme of infertility, of motherhood and marriage and how both change lives. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

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Did you know that The Snow Child was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2013?

For more on Alaska and the locations in this book and in Eowyn Ivey’s new book, visit her blog, Letters from Alaska.

The Fairy Tale

Here are a few picture book versions of the fable of The Snow Child  to share with children or just to enjoy on your own.

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The Snow Child by Freya Littledale

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Little Daughter of the Snow by Arthur Ransome

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The Snow Child retold by Harriet Ziefert

Here is the very lovely book trailer for The Snow Child

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7 thoughts on “Reading Across American–Alaska: The Snow Child–Novel and Fairy Tale

    1. I had tried starting a blog of books by state, but that’s already been done. So, I do an occasional series.I find too many books are New York or L.A. to do a weekly feature or link-up. A link-up would be fun if I could get enough people to participate.

      I also do an occasional Reading the World or Reading the Globe–which has also been done as a blog. Just a fun, quick blog post. Please feel free to post yours and post your link in a comment here if you’d like. You can see other posts by clicking on the Tags in the right sidebar of my blog. Thanks for your interest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t seem to have the bandwidth to record where the books I read are set – but I might start doing that next year and just see where I naturally read about (lots of Iceland, I imagine). My occasional Reading A Century of Books has been all I can deal with in terms of large projects, although I am at least over half-way there now …

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Links I Loved This Week – 10/14/2016 – Novels And Nonfiction

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