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Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip…
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Once Upon a Time in the North (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Philip Pullman

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1,167646,945 (3.82)52
Member:TheoClarke
Title:Once Upon a Time in the North
Authors:Philip Pullman
Info:David Fickling Books (2008), Hardcover, 112 pages
Collections:LT connections, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:21st century, adventure, age 11, age 12, age 13, age 14, age 15, alternate universe, animal companion, animal spirit, Arctic, balloon, bear, British Isles, death, England, English, fantasy, fiction, first edition, juvenilia, KS3. KS4, love, magic, novella, parallel universe, politics, supernatural, UK, UK author

Work details

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman (2008)

None
  1. 20
    Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman (rosylibrarian)
    rosylibrarian: Both books are related to Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' series and reference many of its beloved characters.
  2. 10
    The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène Du Bois (kaledrina)
  3. 10
    The Creature in the Case by Garth Nix (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Alternate Earth fantasy novella featuring magic and non-human creatures.
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English (59)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Another fun, short companion read for those who have already read His Dark Materials. This one's focused on Lee Scoresby. ( )
  brianinseattle | Oct 1, 2014 |
(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)

Title: Once upon a time in the North (on Librarything)
Author: Philip Pullman
Language: English
Series: His Dark Materials
Reviews for other books by this author (up till now): The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ
Format: hardcover
Number of pages: 104
Publisher: David Fickling Books (Random House)
Year published: original 2008, my edition 2008
ISBN number: 9780385614320
Topic of the book: A prequel to the book "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass", Lee Scoresby's meeting with Iorek Byrnison
Reason for reading: I love the main series.
Recommended: Yes, if you like book 1 and want to read more about Lee and Iorek. You can read it if you've only read the first book in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, though the extra letters at the end won't make much sense then (for that, you'll have to read the other companion book, Lyra's Oxford).

Back cover text:
Another mesmerising episode from the universe of 'His Dark Materials' including the very first meeting of those two legends and friends, Lee Scoresby, the Texan balloonist, and Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear.

Set in the frozen Arctic, 'Once Upon a Time in the North' contains other teasingly authentic memorabilia and clues, together with a thrilling board game, 'Peril of the Pole', complete with spinner, game board and pieces, all beautifully illustrated and rendered by master engraver, John Lawrence.

First paragraph:
The battered cargo balloon came in out of a rainstorm over the White Sea, losing height rapidly and swaying in the strong north-west wind as the pilot trimmed the vanes and tried to adjust the gas-valve. The pilot was a lean young man with a large hat, a laconic disposition, and a thin moustache, and at present he was making for the Barents Sea Company Depot, whose location was marked on a torn scrap of paper pinned to the binnacle of the gondola. He could see the depot spread out around the little harbour ahead - a cluster of administrative buildings, a hangar, a warehouse, workshops, gas storage tanks and the associated machinery; it was all approaching fast, and he had to make quick adjustments to everything he could control in order to avoid the hangar roof and make for the open space beyond the warehouse.

Review:
Story:
I loved this story! Lee Scoresby wasn't my favourite character from the main series, but I did like him, so reading more about his adventures was interesting. And it was nice to read about his meeting with Iorek for the first time. And the part about which animal Lee's daemon actually was, was very realistic, I think!
There's a lot of humor in this short story, but if you haven't read the main series (or at least the first book): don't read this book! It won't be interesting then, as the author doesn't explain anything about the world. He assumes the reader already knows everything about the world this story takes place in.
There were less extras than in the other companion book, "Lyra's Oxford", but the ones that were included, were interesting. Some things mentioned in the story, like a newspaper article, a few pages from a book, a board game (yes, the actual board game is printed on a fold-out paper which is separate from the book, so you can really play it). I haven't played it though, but the concept is interesting: do NOT reach the end first, but last. I do want to play it later :)
At the end there are some letters written by Lyra, so you get a glimpse of what she has been doing after "Lyra's Oxford".

Writing style:
Similar to the writing style in the first paragraph, good balance between descriptions and dialogue.

Art:
There were woodblock print images, which were very nice illustrations of the story, exactly as things were described.

Conclusion:
A lovely little book.

Rereadability:
Yes, I'd certainly reread this book!

On my weblog here.
  mene | Sep 26, 2014 |
This novella is set in the world of the His Dark Materials trilogy. It tells the story of how Lee Scoresby gets his balloon, comes from Texas to Europe, and joins up with the bear Iorek. It hints of much greater things to come, but itself is a relatively simple story about Scoresby helping a captain escape from the harbor where he has been trapped at the behest of an evil corporation in league with a mercenary politician and an assassin.

Worth reading if you've exhausted everything else, including Lyra's Oxford, which in some ways is better than this book. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Nicely written, simple tale. If Lee Scoresby hadn't seen the assassin, however, he might not have been able to make up his mind what side to be on. ( )
  themulhern | Dec 21, 2013 |
For an audiobook I thought it was excellent.Like all audiobooks it detracts from a lot of detail that's provided when reading the story.

Philip Pullman stated in an interview when commenting on his recent 'GRIMM Tales for The Young and Old' that traditional folk-tale and fairytales have 'flat' characters - they're psychologically dimensionless and based on culturally based ideals and gender stereotypes. Like fairytales I found the female characters in 'Once Upon A Time in The North' flat and based on strong gender stereotypes.Although it's arguable whether this helped bring the characters to life and consequently contributed to a more plausible creation of Lyra's Oxford and HDM's Universe.

The book is written for young adults but can be equally enjoyed by an 'older' audience.


I would definitely buy a physical copy of this book and believe that more satisfaction is gained from this story when reading it from the book as opposed to an audiobook, some of the details in the story that are presented chronologically in the book are ommited and added at the end of the story in the audiobook version.

Overall, it is definitely worth listening/reading, as it does contribute to undersatnding HDM world.
For readers that aren't familiar with HDM , I would still recommend it as supplementary reading s but it would be preferable if the trilogy was read prior to this.

For those that haven't read HDM's I would still reccomend it, it's story-telling at it's finest.( ( )
  Alexandra.Moraiti | Jul 14, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stensen, DanielleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The battered cargo balloon came in out of a rainstorm over the White Sea, losing height rapidly and swaying in the strong north-west wind as the pilot trimmed the vanes and tried to adjust the gas-valve.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Lyra Silvertongue's
tale: cowboy meets polar bear
a long time ago.
(ed.pendragon)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375845100, Hardcover)

In this new prequel episode from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby--Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua--is just 24 years old, and he's recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating North to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving oil magnate Larsen Manganese, corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov, and Lee's longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country: Pierre McConville, a hired killer with at least twenty murders to his name.

It's only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island's reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out--and battle of wits. This exquisite clothbound volume features the illustrations of John Lawrence, a removable board game—Peril of the Pole—on the inside back cover, and a glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In a time before Lyra Silvertongue was born, the tough American balloonist Lee Scoresby and the great armoured bear Iorek Byrnison meet when Lee and his hare daemon Hester crash-land their trading balloon onto a port in the far Arctic North and find themselves right in the middle of a political powder keg.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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