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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
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Breadcrumbs (2011)

by Anne Ursu

Other authors: Erin McGuire (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8717115,405 (3.7)50
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Ruled by a white witch, a wintry forest - enchanted and treacherous -- doesn't deter a young girl from trying to save a spellbound friend. Filled with fairy tale elements, both of these affecting fantasies speak to universal longings.
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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Read for 6th-8th grade book club... I enjoyed the book. ( )
  EBassett | Mar 20, 2019 |
I remembered that I loved this book, but I didn't remember all the reasons why. I was a little surprised that it was a male narrator on the audiobook, but Kirby Heyborne did a very nice job with all the voices. I ached for Hazel, who is not only at a transitional age (5th grade), but dealing with her parents' divorce, her father's abandonment of her, a change in schools, and the mysterious and sudden change in her best friend, Jack. Despite her mother's well-meant theory that boy-girl friendships often change at this age, Hazel knows there's more going on - and once her idea is confirmed, there's no other choice but to go after Jack and save him from the White Witch, whether or not he wants to be saved.

Hazel is marvelously strong, and marginally prepared - with supplies such as energy bars and a change of clothes, but also with a solid knowledge of classic and contemporary fantasy and fairy tales. But the Woods don't always work the way they're supposed to, and it's hard to know who to trust. Nevertheless, Hazel succeeds in her journey - with readers cheering for her all the way. ( )
  JennyArch | Mar 13, 2019 |
Where do I begin? I feel as though anything I write about Breadcrumbs won't do it justice. That all the feelings that are wrapped up inside of me are entirely too large to fit into a review. Still, a review is the only way I know how to show my appreciation for this magical book, and so I'll do my best. I'll tell you now, if I could give this book a million star rating? I would. The entire time I was lost in Anne Ursu's brilliant story, I felt like I might be a bit enchanted myself. That feeling still hasn't gone away.

The writing is exquisite. Ursu weaves her words into a world filled with crystalline white snow. A world filled with boring school days, vivid imaginations, rocky friendships and a web of magic that pulses underneath it all. I knew that this was a retelling of "The Snow Queen" from the synopsis. I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. This isn't just a retelling. Instead it is a gorgeous mesh of two parallel worlds. One is a world in which a little girl is looking for where she belongs. For how she is supposed to fit. Then there is another world where steeling yourself against the ice, where forging forward despite the odds, is the only way to survive. This story is many things, but most of all it's a story about growing up and trying to hang onto that piece of yourself that growing up threatens to take away.

I cannot express enough how much I loved Hazel as a character. I've worked with kids for many years, and I know that it's tough to write a middle grade character who is as vibrant and layered as they are. Hazel is so very close to perfection in that respect. I believed I was in the mind of a fifth grader. I believed that Hazel was a real person with real thoughts and feelings. It's true that she is wise beyond her years, but I think I saw a little bit of myself in her. Reading and imagination go hand in hand. They take you magical places, and help you see the world in a new light. For Hazel, they show her that sometimes words are plastic flowers. That sometimes parents are just as lost as you are. Most of all, that sometimes the only thing you can do is push forward. Especially when your best friend needs you.

If I don't stop here, I'll gush for ages. I really will. I loved everything about this book. I smiled, and I cried. I drank this down like a person who hasn't had anything to drink in years. There was something missing inside me, something that called me to read this book. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this is the type of book that I want to read to my someday children. I would love to wrap myself up in its pages and live there forever. This book is pure magic, and it settles right into its rightful spot on my favorite books of all time. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
ten year old fifth graders Hazel and Jack are best friends, they live next door to each other and spend a lot of their time playing games of make-believe and magic. Hazel feels that Jack is the only one who truly understands her, most everyone else wants her to grow up, be mature and act a certain way. But this is a world where magic can be all-too real and when Jack gets a piece of a magic mirror in his eye, he turns away from Hazel. Then Jack gets spirited away by an icy lady in a sled pulled by white wolves and Hazel knows it’s up to her to find him and bring him home.
  pitaaortiz | Nov 26, 2018 |
I wanted to love this book, but just couldn't make it happen. It could be that I'm just not a fan of the original Snow Queen fairytale, but I don't think that's it. The problem I have with this retelling is that the first half and second half don't match up. I'll get back to that after I give a short synopsis.

Hazel and Jack are best friends. Her parents have divorced and her mother can't continue the private school tuition, so now she's going to the public school Jack goes to. For some reason the kids don't like her and Jack's other friends are part of that group. Despite that, she and Jack remain friends until a piece of glass mysteriously ends up in his eye at recess. From then on he starts brushing her off. She's devastated. Then he goes missing. One of Jack's bully friends tells her that he saw Jack leave with a woman dressed in white in a sleigh pulled by wolves.

OK. Stop. Nothing wrong here. It's a modern retelling. Modern retellings often stray far from the original tale. It's to be expected when you add in modern culture and technological advances. I don't have a problem with this. I have a problem with what happens next. Hazel feels deeply compelled to go after Jack, so she magically crosses over into the dark woods to find him. From here on out the story doesn't feel at all like it is taking place in modern times. It feels like the story veers into H. C. Anderson's 19th century world. It's like going from paved asphalt to dirt. What happens to Hazel on her way to find the Snow Queen, doesn't align at all with what happens to Gerda in the original tale. That's fine, but it is a far cry from the school bullying that occurred in the first half.

It's disappointing, but not enough so that I wouldn't recommend it to kids who like fairytales. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Ursuprimary authorall editionscalculated
McGuire, ErinIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGuire, ErinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weise, CarlaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems. It was the sort of snow that transforms the world around it into a different kind of place.
Quotations
Hazel could not help put stop and stare at it- this, the biggest tree in the world. There was a flickering within the leaves, birds that made their universe inside the mammouth cloud of branches. She wondered if they even knew about the sky. p.174
Jack hesitated still, and Hazel wanted to say something comforting, to give him some bright plastic flowers of words, but Jack would see them for what they were. Jack knew how to see things. p.310
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Hazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hopes of saving Jack's life " -- Provided by publisher.

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