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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,976 Ratings  ·  1,611 Reviews

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 on

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Walden Pond Press
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Community Reviews

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Wendy Darling
If you gently shook a snow globe, you might find that the snowflakes come down on an enchanting story much like this one. Hazel’s best friend Jack has disappeared, and the quiet, scrappy fifth grader must overcome her fears—not to mention a mysterious witch and numerous other challenges—in order to save him.

This lovely story, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, unfolds slowly and beautifully. As an adult who still reads or rereads a lot of children’s books and an avid lover of fai
Aug 27, 2015 karen rated it really liked it
growing up is so damn hard.

when this book comes out, i guarantee it will win all the awards and land itself on all the school reading lists. this book couches some pretty devastating life lessons in an alternate realm of dangerous magical fantasy, but it does so without ever once being cutesy.

hazel and jack have been neighbors and best friends forever. hazel was adopted from india as a baby by white american parents who have since separated, jack is the son of a woman who has retreated into this
Jan 10, 2012 Terri rated it it was ok
Am I the only one who didn't like this book? "Breadcrumbs" was on a mock awards list for the book club I am in. I had a really hard time getting through it. I always try to read a book through the lens of the intended reader. That generally, though not always, is someone the approximate age of the protagonist, in this case a fifth grader named Hazel. I am afraid that, though the story is at times exquisite in terms of writing, much of the language, the use of metaphor, and the proliferation of a ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Thomas Tomato
I am not a regular reader of children's books and certainly not their connoisseur. Literature aimed at elementary school students is not something I actively seek or even enjoy at my age. But sometimes there are children's books that touch me in a special way.

Breadcrumbs managed to bring out the memories of my childhood like no other book before. This modern day retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen is an homage to all the wonderful stories of my childhood and some that captured
Oct 20, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Wendy Darling, Thomas, Tatiana
3 3/4 stars

This book is a perfect example of why I will never stop reading children’s literature. I think that children’s authors quite often succeed in translating the hard truths of living where adult authors fail. Maybe they have an advantage, because their truth doesn’t have to get tangled up in hindsight and experience and complexity. It’s fresh and new and in that way it’s also the most intense and painful truth that we experience.

Anne Ursu doesn’t shy away from the dark, either, and I rea
Small Review
Originally posted on Small Review

2.5 stars Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key

I'm back in my secret bunker

Why? Because I didn't really like Breadcrumbs. To say my expectations were high is an understatement. I love fairy tale retellings, the cover is beautiful, and a friend even mailed me her copy to read (after she loved it). People are even talking Newbery!

I have a lot to hide from.

I am the wrong reader for this book

Yes, Breadcrumbs is a fairy tale retelling, but it is also a conte
I don't even know how to go about this review without gushing like an incoherent loon.
[Nope, as it turned out, all I had to do was sound really melodramatic and um...intense...Oh, boy.]
I mean, really, I don't know that I have a single bad thing to say about this book. I loved reading it for the beauty of the storytelling and for the way it made me feel, and I respected it for the same reasons as well as one very important one: Anne Ursu respects her audience.

It is very, very rare to find an au
Hey, Mike Reynolds, do you know Anne Ursu??? She teaches at Hamline!

A delight of a book. I can do no better than these reviews:
Thank you, Tommy, for the recommendation!!

The more I read with a view to attempting to understand why I read and how I respond, the more I'm seeing that the books I can stick myself into are the ones that hit me with the most oomph. I was Hazel (but les
Jun 27, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it
Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen is, let’s admit it, the world’s greatest puberty metaphor. A boy and girl are friends. Something happens and he grows cold and distant. In the midst of his indifference he’s spirited away and must be won back. Okay, the metaphor kind of breaks down at the end there, but the separation of boy/girl best friends is very real. With that in mind author Anne Ursu has done the mildly impossible. She has updated the old tale to the 21st century, thrown ...more
Jubilation Lee
So I read Breadcrumbs two weeks ago, and it has been sitting, for two weeks, on my kitchen table. Every time I walk past it, I think “Shit! I haven’t reviewed Breadcrumbs yet! I’ll do that right now.” Except I don’t, because I’m not sure how to put my opinion of the book into an actual, coherent, cohesive sort of a way. So I leave it on the table, and notice it again 8 hours later... and so on.

But now, darn it, I’m reviewing the book for real, so it can go on to the next person who wants to rea
Mar 04, 2012 Anna rated it did not like it
No book is more challenging to read than one that promises so much and delivers so little. It makes you question those who loved it and your own interpretations and reactions. BREADCRUMBS is one such book. In four and a half years of nightly family read-alouds, this is the only book we (two adults, one 8-year-old boy) ever considered not finishing; the only one with so little enjoyment that we felt it wasn't worth our time. We did stick it out, but it was a frustrating and unrewarding struggle.

As a rule, even though I probably do it too much myself, I think comparing two books that are literally similar tends to do neither book any favors. So, unless you’re trying to crush something despicable in one of the books, pitting one against another doesn’t make that much sense to me. Thoughtless comparisons have ruined stories for me because sometimes something beautiful in a story is so easy to crush by association with something blunt in another. All of this preface is a warning because I ...more
The Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tales. It's haunting and nostalgic, bleak yet hopeful. The villain isn't some wolf lurking in the forest, or an evil witch who casts curses on newborns; it's not even the Snow Queen herself. Rather, the villainy lies in our own heart, capable of being manipulated and mutated by how we perceive the world.

Using this tale, Anne Ursu crafts a lovely retelling from the perspective of a girl, right on the cusp of adolescence. Hazel is a fifth grader struggli
Sep 21, 2011 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Hazel and Jack have always been best friends, bonding over their shared love of science fiction and fantasy. They play make-believe “superhero baseball” and hang out in a derelict house they call the Shrieking Shack. But now that they’re eleven, Hazel’s mom is pushing her to make some female friends, and Jack is more interested in hanging out with his male friends than with Hazel. Then the impossible happens: Jack is taken away by a mysterious witch, and Hazel is the only one who can rescue him. ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it
Breadcrumbs begins with a promise: "It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out. And magic did come out."

And unlike many books, it delivers on that promise.

Hazel and Jack are best friends, the kind who, despite their youth, have weathered bitter hardships. Jack's mother tumbles into the darkness of depression; Hazel's father abandons his family for a new life. But the two friends have used the strength of their mutual affection to buoy
Amanda Coppedge
May 20, 2011 Amanda Coppedge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-mg, mg, read-in-2011
This is a book for people who are in love with Story. I love that it's not about the mundane girl whose life is changed by a freewheeling, magical friend (though I do love those stories too!). It's about two magical, freewheeling friends and what happens when one of them loses his way. Hazel is such a lovable main character, so well captured. This book is fun and thoughtful and above all TRUE. It made me laugh and it brought me to tears and left me full of deep thoughts. I wish I had a time mach ...more
Initial Thoughts: At first I was cursing this book that waxed poetic about snow. Being from a place that had way too much snow this year, I had little patience for any book that talks about how wonderful snowflakes are, but I digress...This is a perfect book for grades 3-6 with a wonderful heroine who is very creative and imaginative, but slightly odd. Hazel notices that things have changed with her best friend Jack and that he doesn't really want to play with her. Then, he goes missing. Hazel b ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Rachael rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2011 Samuel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book is more than a little otherworldly. It's as hypnotic as a blizzard, as ominous as a dream, as fragmented as reality.

The plot is an extended reinterpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," set partly in modern-day Minnesota, and partly in The Woods, one of the most unfriendly landscapes in children's fantasy. Fifth-grader Hazel Anderson's best friend Jack is missing, and she takes it upon herself to find and rescue him, even in the face of mounting evidence that he may n
Feb 16, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, mmxii

Remember back when you were 10 and the most important thing was a) being a world renowned hula hooper and b) marrying Davy Jones? If so… email me, we must be twins separated by fate.

Remember when you would rush off with your friends after school, without proper outdoor attire, no helmet as you straddle your ten speed, no cell phone with a GPS chip so your parents always know where you are… the only caution being from Officer Friendly to not talk to strangers and avoid starting forest fires? Or
May 22, 2011 Laurel rated it it was amazing
Whew. Okay. Wow.

BEAUTIFULLY written. Really, perfect prose. No way I can give this less than 5 stars.

I'm really interested in books that do what this books does-- take "regular" kids into magic, at the very age when they'e questioning the idea/existence of magic. Books that bridge the MG/YA leap from "outside" worlds of adventure to "inside" worlds of emotion/identity. Divorce and mental illness are handled deftly, as is adoption. No hammering-over-the-head. While the fairytale retains an ethere
Just didn't do it for me. Read about half way and didn't have the heart to continue. Too dreary for my taste and the plot took a really long time to build, especially for MG. That said, Ursu did write some beautiful and touching passages.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I wanted to like this more than I did for a few reasons. I loved the author's Chronus Chronicles series, and I am absolutely crazy about the fairy tale, "The Snow Queen." Another wonderful aspect of this novel is that the main character, Hazel, is a young girl who is Indian in ethnicity (from the country), although adopted by a white, American couple. I think that Ursu has something powerful to say about being 'other' in a society that is primarily of a certain race/culture. How that can impact ...more
Anzu The Great Destroyer
I judge books by their covers and I’m not ashamed of it. That doesn’t mean that I read a book just because it has a pretty cover. Far from it.

I judge covers according to their relevancy to the content inside the book. I think that covers should represent the books story in the best way possible. Covers that portray a certain scene from a book are my usually favorites. I’m mentioning this because the reason why I picked up Breadcrumbs is, surprise surprise, the cover. The story that the cover tel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Luck
Sep 25, 2014 Jason Luck rated it really liked it
I thought this book was awesome. Breadcrumbs is about an eleven year old girl named Hazel and her best friend Jack. Hazel and Jack have been friends since they were little. They have been imaginative and creative, thinking about magic and superheroes. Then in fifth grade Hazel switches to Jack’s school. She feels like an outcast because no one understands her expect Jack, who she only sees at recess. One day Jack changed. He suddenly stopped talking to Hazel. He stops hanging out with her at re ...more
‘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 hav
Excuse me, what was this sh*t? Can authors do that nowadays? Get a book, change the main character's names, change a little the setting and publish it under their own name?

This book brought nothing new and in the retelling department is a bore and a mess. The level of originality here is close to 0. It's like the author didn't even have enough imagination to explain the story in her own way. She even skipped explanations sometimes adding references to the original books. WTF?! Do I need to read
Aug 05, 2012 Lightreads rated it liked it
Finished the morning of my birthday (no felicitation necessary, this was mumblemumble months ago). A dreamy modern fairy tale for the pre-teen set about being the child of divorce and losing your best friend and being the very brave girl who follows him into another world to get him back.

Wonderful in many ways, and I commend it to many of you and to your kids. I loved all of this set in the ‘real” world, but the fairy tale portions were pitched exactly counter to my tastes. Idiosyncratic thing,
Sara Grochowski
Mar 07, 2012 Sara Grochowski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs wasn't quite what I was expecting. For some unknown reason, I had assumed that the novel would immediately launch into something at least vaguely recognizable as "The Snow Queen," but that wasn't the case. In retrospect, this makes sense and gives Breadcrumbs a modern, semi-believable feel. It is, in some ways, comparable to the Neil Gaiman's Stardust.

It wasn't until Hazel begins her trek through the magical woods to rescue her best friend that I truly fell for this story
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Anne Ursu's most recent book is BREADCRUMBS (HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press), a modern–day fairy tale for middle grade readers. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," BREADCRUMBS is a story of a Minneapolis girl who follows her best friend into a strange fairy-tale woods, and discovers there that fantasy is no escape.

Anne is also the author of the Cronus Chronicles (Atheneum), a
More about Anne Ursu...

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“Kids can handle a lot more than you think they can. It's when they get to be grown up that you have to start worrying.” 54 likes
“I believe that the world isn't always what we can see...I believe there are secrets in the woods. And I believe that goodness wins out...So, if someone's changed overnight - by witch curse or poison apple or were-turtle - you have to show them what's good. You show them love. That works a surprising amount of the time.” 28 likes
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