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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  11,757 ratings  ·  2,021 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, 320 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Walden Pond Press
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Only you can answer that question. "Worth" varies from reader to reader; that's a subjective judgement. I might love something you hate and vice versa…moreOnly you can answer that question. "Worth" varies from reader to reader; that's a subjective judgement. I might love something you hate and vice versa. Check it out of the library if you don't want to buy it. That way if you don't like it you can just take it back.(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,757 ratings  ·  2,021 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars

A boy got a splinter in his eye, and his heart turned cold. Only two people noticed. One was a witch, and she took him for her own. The other was his best friend. And she went after him in ill-considered shoes, brave and completely unprepared.
Hazel and Jack are were the best of friends. They did everything together and when Hazel swapped schools, they were together all the time.

But then...they have a fight. Not a squabble or an argument - an actual fight.

And after that, Ja
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 fa
Sep 06, 2011 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
Dec 08, 2011 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
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
Jul 12, 2011 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
Small Review
May 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 19, 2011 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
Mar 04, 2012 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.

Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle

Why this book?

I haven't read many retellings of The Snow Queen

What I thought

This was a beautiful retelling of The Snow Queen . It was captivating and the writing is riveting. The people Hazel meets on her journey were fascinating. With that said I had a few problems. Hazel was way over dependent when it came to Jack. There also was no big climactic moment the witch just lets them go,like seriously that's it? Plus the book leaves off with nothing resolved, are they friends again or what
May 21, 2011 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
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
Meredith Holley
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
m a r y l i z
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok

The single greatest thing I liked about this book was finishing it. I WAS FREAKING CELEBRATING WHEN I READ THE LAST PAGE.

I'm sorry, but this is just . . . not my thing.

Lovely Things:

- The illustrations. Oh my gingersnaps, the illustrations in this book are SO BEAUTIFUL. The cover art and all the little illustration pages scattered throughout . . . they are darling.

- Um . . . it's wintery?? I'm trying to think of something else I liked, but I'm drawing a blank. I guess I just loved
Belles Middle Grade Library
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was amazing! Such a great story, & so deep at the same time-& I don’t just mean the snow! 😆Ok sorry, moving on! Lol I believe this is inspired by The Snow Queen. I didn’t realize that at 1st or I would have read that beforehand. But I know the basics of the story. The book is broken into 2 parts-the 1st part is almost completely in the real world, & in the 2nd part we’re in the fantasy world where Hazel goes to rescue her best friend Jack from the White Witch. In the 1st part we also learn ...more
Hazel and Jack are best friends. They're in grade five, and hang out together at recess and after school. Hazel is adopted, and she and her mother live together after her adopted father left them. Jack lives nearby, and his mother is suffering from depression, though it's never named as such by any of the characters. One day, a piece of glass from a troll-made mirror gets into Jack's eye, and very soon afterwards, he rejects Hazel and disappears. Hazel journeys to the wood in which Jack was last ...more
Aug 25, 2011 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
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
Amanda B
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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
Nov 07, 2011 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
Dec 21, 2011 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
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack who got lost in the woods. His best friend went after him. Along the way, she had many adventures. She met woodsmen, witches, and wolves. She found her friend in the thrall of a queen who lived in a palace of ice and had a heart to match. She rescued him with the help of a magical object. And they returned home, together, and they lived on, somehow, ever after.
It went something like that, anyway.

book playlist:
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zz-keep-forever
"In the woods where the woodsmen told lies, maybe it was the wolves who told the truth."

Eerie, literary, rich. Recommended. I listened to the audio a few years ago and felt that I was missing something, but it turns out that's a good way to read it at least for me, as I don't do audio much, and so there was the cachet of 'something special' associated with the experience. And of course I missed the pictures, which are nice but not critical (though it would have helped if I'd caught on more quick
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2011 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
Liana Grace
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Atmospheric and gorgeous. The perfect middle grade to read this time of year.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
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
Sep 12, 2011 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
Aug 05, 2012 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,
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
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Anne Ursu is the author of several fantasies for young readers, including THE REAL BOY, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, and BREADCRUMBS, which was named as one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly, Amazon, and School Library Journal. She is also the recipient of a McKnight Fellowship. She teaches at the Hamline University's Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Childr ...more

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