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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Anne Ursu, Erin McGuire (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6325615,341 (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)

  1. 20
    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Brave girls who love to read and stories that come to life; one parent close and another distant; a supernatural arch-enemy; and a daring rescue mission inform these highly descriptive and enthralling fantasies.
  2. 10
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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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    Red Glass by Laura Resau (jshonk)

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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
‘There are things you do not notice until they are gone. Like the certainty that your body is a single whole, that there’s something keeping you from breaking into pieces and scattering with the winds.’

In this modern-day version of The Snow Queen, Hazel undergoes a journey in hopes of finding her best friend Jack after he disappeared when a mysterious piece of glass falls into his eye. Hazel has always felt like an outcast because she’s adopted and her parents recent split up causes her to have to attend a new school. The only upside of this new school is Jack, the only one that ever seems to truly understand Hazel and when he’s last seen walking into the woods with a woman dressed in white, his absence is palpable.

In The Snow Queen, there is a woman dressed in white that rides a sled which is clearly the inspiration behind Jadis, the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The cultural references don’t stop there though seeing as Hazel is such an avid reader and their stories have become etched into her mind. Hogwarts is referenced as well as The Wizard of Oz, The Golden Compass, A Wrinkle in Time, Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth and more than likely a few others I didn’t catch. The first few were fun little additions but as they continued they really managed to divert my attention away from the magic of the actual story.

Hazel is still at the age where she views the world through the lens of her imagination, a time when life was much simpler. Narnia and Hogwarts are as real to her as anything else, unfortunately everyone around her seems to be growing up and leaving her alone within her imagination. Hazel was such a kind-hearted soul that had difficulty understanding how she could be so different and why that was necessarily such a bad thing. It’s impossible not to have the utmost sympathy for this poor girl. This self-exploratory adventure, that muddies the difference between fantasy and reality, in finding her inner strength to be happy and content with who she is was an adventure you felt you were personally undertaking right along with her. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Mar 13, 2015 |
This story for young readers was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen." It tells the tale of two best friends, Hazel and Jack, who spend most of their time together. Then one day, Jack accidentally acquired a shard of glass from a magical mirror when it fell into his eye. Suddenly, Jack stops talking to Hazel and refuses to spend time with her. Later, as Jack is sledding, he is greeted by the white witch who sweet talks him into coming with her into the woods. Hazel becomes concerned when Jack doesn't show up to school. She is told by one of Jack's friends who oversaw what happened to him, that he went into the woods with some snow woman and hasn't returned. It is then that Hazel decides to go into the woods by herself to save Jack from the white witch. Along the way she runs into many mystical creatures and trials that she must overcome. In the end, she finds Jack and they both return home as friends.

Personal Reflection: I enjoyed this book. It's more for young experienced readers since it's a chapter book with mostly words. I particularly like how the plot balances the real world with a fantasy world. This makes the story more interesting and believable. I can see many children relating to the friendship in this story.

Extensions: 1. In the book, there is a section where the teacher asks the students to draw/paint a made up place of their own. For an activity, hand out paper and color utensils, then allow the children to create a made up place of their own. Have them describe what their place is, where it's located and any other interesting things about it.

2. This book's setting takes place during winter. Consider reading this book during winter and discussing winter activities that happen in the book, such as sledding and snow ball fights.

3. Have a 'friend day' where friends get to do activities together throughout the day. ( )
  mnewby17 | Feb 18, 2015 |
Beautifully written. My heart ached for Hazel, especially in the first half of the book (which oddly I preferred, though it was the second half where most of the fantastical elements showed up). It was a little too bitter and surreal for me to wholeheartedly love it, but I admired this book very much, and am glad to have read it.

I also loved all the references to other fantasy books. Lots of cookies for fans of fantastical kidlit! And as a Betsy-Tacy fan I was delighted that Hazel's school (in Minnesota!) was Lovelace.

  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel. ( )
  cay250 | Dec 28, 2014 |
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 |
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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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