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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Anne Ursu, Erin McGuire (Illustrator)

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6135215,886 (3.76)41
Authors:Anne Ursu
Other authors:Erin McGuire (Illustrator)
Info:Walden Pond Press (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (2011)


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Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
While this type of story does not fall within my usual interests, I read it because it was recommended by a friend, and because my daughter read it in 4th grade and really liked it. The author expertly interweaves many traditional fairy tales with the story of Hazel and her best friend Jack. The story is of Hazel's journey into a dark and mysterious wood to rescue Jack from the White Witch (yes, directly from Narnia). SPOILER ALERT: What I like about this book is Hazel's ability to stand strong against temptation (unlike the traditional characters in the many fairy tales represented in this book), persevere in the face of defeat, and be the girl who rescues the prince. I also appreciate that, although the story has a successful ending (rescue accomplished), it does not necessarily imply a "happily ever after ending," because Hazel and Jack live in a real world, not a fairy tale land. My one complaint about the book is a subplot that is never resolved; Jack's mother is depressed, but the author never reveals why. This may leave some children wondering what's wrong with her. Despite this, I would highly recommend this book to all young girls (regardless of whether they know their fairy tales) and their parents and teachers. It's still not my type of story, but its value extends well beyond my personal tastes. ( )
  wscalfaro | Aug 6, 2014 |
I greatly enjoyed this story to no end, but at a very whimsical level. I really liked how Ursu used the texturing of her descriptions. The part I didn't really care to much for was Hazel's school, and the racism that was portrayed. This a bothered me a bit, and I'm noticing a trend in newer books that are using fairy tale characters/retellings.
I think personally what hit the most was Jack's mother, and her depression issues. Not very often have I come across such a raw and honest response of what you would tell your child when you're explaining mental issues about friends and loved ones.
Characters that made this book were: the wolves, the Fates, Ben, and the Little Matchstick Girl.
Would I read it again? Most definitely. ( )
  wickedshizuku | May 12, 2014 |
Breadcrumbs is a charming and enchanting new novel by Anne Ursu. Billed as Middle Grade fiction, the lyrical writing and interesting mix of fantasy and reality will appeal to Young Adult and Adult readers alike.

Breadcrumbs is an emotional journey that follows Hazel as she navigates a dangerously magical forest on her quest to reach the Snow Queen's lair and rescue her best friend Jack. One of the many things I enjoyed about Breadcrumbs is that it evoked such nostalgic memories of my own childhood. There is an almost natural separation that happens in boy/girl friendships at a certain age and Ursu highlights this with such poignancy that it is beautiful to read.

Hazel shone as the main character and her courage, loyalty, and fortitude were inspiring. I loved her whimsical nature, her willingness to trust her intuition as she faced some terrifying challenges and persevered through seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The way her character evolved throughout the story was wonderful. The quest that Hazel undertook was as much about self discovery as it was about the strength of friendship and Hazel learned something valuable with each step of the journey.

Within the story, there were nods to many other popular children’s tales such as Harry Potter and Narnia and of course, the Snow Queen which inspired this novel. These mentions made sense in the context of the story and I don't feel that they were overused at all.

This was an emotional and whimsical modern fairy tale with overtones of melancholy and nostalgia. This is one of those reads that stays with you long after turning the last page, a modern day classic. I would recommend this to readers of all ages and would go so far as to say that you will be missing out if you don’t have a copy of this on your shelf. ( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
This was not my thing. It was a depressing fantasy that was clearly an allegory for growing up, and I just felt bummed pretty much the whole time I was reading it. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
Lovely and magical. Just added this to the school library; glad I did. It'll be the right book for thoughtful fantasy readers.

It took me a little bit to realize all that lots of Andersen's fairy tales were making an appearance, not just The Snow Queen. I spotted The Red Shoes and The Little Match Girl, too. The ending I found to be a bit flat--the end of The Snow Queen is so lovely; I can't see what Ursu was rushing for. I was also a little wistful for the little Robber Girl and the talking reindeer!

Hazel seems very grown up in her understanding of how emotions work--for example, she thinks to herself that the girl dancing in red shoes looks tired, and then wonders if she herself is "just projecting." Do fifth graders really think like that? Hazel also has a pretty deep knowledge of why her mother talks and acts as she does. And...have to say this, as a teacher...books which portray not a single adult in school scenes who is really a sympathetic character make me sad. It seems to hold out so little hope--I just don't believe the school exists where no one at all can make a connection with a needy child.

Some of the language made me smile--lots of Hazel's internal dialog, for example. And I laughed out loud at the description of Hazel's mother driving their little car "like it was an emotionally unstable bear" through the bad weather. ( )
  Turrean | Feb 15, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Ursuprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.
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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"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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