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East of the Sun, West of the Moon

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From the moment she saw him, she knew the bear had come for her. How many times had she dreamt of the bear…. Now, here he was, as if spelled from her dreams.
“I will come with you, Bear,” she said.
It is the beginning of an extraordinary journey for the girl. First to the bear’s secret palace in faraway mountains, where she is treated so courteously, but where she
Hardcover, 168 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  336 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Arielle Walker
Ok, I totally get the concept of changing endings, and having wonderful twists and turns and unexpectedy bits in fairytale retellings - but you do not mess with the ending of this story and expect me to like it if it isn't damn perfect.

This ending was, in fact, not even slightly damn perfect and as such I did not like it.

The drawings were lovely though.
Manda Scott
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book for the quality of the illustrations, for the magic that's in them, and then picked it up to read the first page, and found that, an hour or two later, I was still sitting by the fire and had come to the end, with tears in my eyes.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is an old fairy tale given new life and relevance and magic by Jackie Morris. She takes the indigenous peasant setting and brings it bang up to date by having her 'journeying girl' be the daughter of an asylum
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The illustrated hardcover is gorgeous.
I kind of feel terrible giving this two stars, the end I guess it just wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for. I was excited about giving it a try because I always thought this was a really interesting fairy tale, and it's not one that has been totally overdone like Cinderella and Snow White and a number of others have been. And while I really liked both East and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, they both left me wanting a little something more, and I hoped I'd find that here.

On the plus
Anne Crabb
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved the book. The story and illustrations weaved an enchanting tale with enthralling mystical and spiritual elements from many traditions across the world. The exquisite illustrations expressed the emotions of the characters so beautifully; they also incorporated so many facets that reveal themselves each time the picture is studied. The narrative touched every emotion; I could hardly bear to turn the page if I suspected something terrible was about to happen, then I read faster ...more
Clockwork Gypsy
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was not sure what to expect when I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway. The premise sounded interesting, but the book being aimed at young people, I was not sure I would enjoy it. I was delighted to be wrong. Jackie Morris has created a mystical fairy tale that flows smoothly and would be an enchanting read for children and adults alike. The illustrations are beautiful. The book even feels pleasant with a pleasant tactile design that is a pleasure to hold. This is the kind of story that ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: (With Caveat) Readers Who Enjoy Fairy-Tale Fiction / Fans of Jackie Morris' Artwork
A young girl, the daughter of refugees, is taken away by a mysterious and magical polar bear in this novelized retelling of the classic Norwegian tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Eventually reconciled to her life in his enchanted palace, where she comes to love the bear, the girl is permitted to return home for a visit. Here, despite the bear's warnings, the girl allows herself to spend some time alone with her mother, who gives her something that will allow her to see the shadowy ...more
Gorgeous, but strange, and takes the end in a totally different direction from the original fairy tale. Not sure how I feel about Morris' ending, but I'd definitely read it again, and buy it for my shelf.

*Update October 2016*
Upping my review one star because, over a year later, I can't get this out of my head; the more I think about it, the more the twist ending feels right. I need to read it again.
A pretty traditional retelling of the old fairy tale, EXCEPT FOR THE ENDING! Total curve ball ending. I still don't know how I feel about it, it felt like a very modern way to have a "happily ever after" ending. True love is very much called into question, a little too much for my liking.
Elizabeth Biasotti
I normally love the story with the girl and the girl and the polar bear (The polar bear king, East and ect) but this book was not good at all. The writing style was horrible and was repetitive. The girl tries so hard to be with the polar bear, and then ends up with someone else!
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I discovered ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’ by Jackie Morris, through a friend's review of it. A fairy tale set in the cold northern lands, featuring a young girl and a polar bear – how can one resist it? I couldn’t wait to get it and read it and I finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think.

‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’ is Jackie Morris’ retelling of the classic fairytale with the same name. There are two parts to the story. The first is a simple fairytale which reminds one
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful book in every way, it’s language along with the exquisite drawings takes you on magical journey. I can’t compare to the original story as I have never read it but this was just pure joy. It is about a girl who goes on a journey with a polar bear who she has dreamt about many times, when he comes for her, and for me the beginning of this story is described so well you feel each step, each breath as the bear approaches the girl. I don’t want to give the story away to those ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come :)
Briar Rose
Apr 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: trolls and witches who live East of the Sun, West of the Moon
A fairly straightforward re-telling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, apart from the ending. The writer spends a bit too much time on description and not enough time developing characters and plot points, so it feels too slow sometimes, and rushed and uneven at others. It's difficult to relate to the main character when we get so little from her - she's archetypal, barely sketched-in. Which is fine if you're writing a fairytale, less fine if you're trying to expand on a fairytale, or invert ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This book infuriates me, it has me captured at first, with the prospects of being a great story. Keeps me captivated for the most of it, then it just goes downhill. it starts to fill rushed, as if the author just wanted to get the story over and done with. I read on hoping that the ending will redeem the downfall, but to no avail, the ending makes me annoyed. How can she decide to choose the wind, go against all the warnings just because she has now 'grown up'? I personally feel that the ending ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
One Sentence Review: Remarkably good and a very clever take on the old fairy tale, though the 10=year-old inside of me (who is not the world's most reliable reviewer) wished the ending could have been a little different.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Sometimes people hand me books and tell me to read them and sometimes I do.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully rendered retelling of the old tale with an ending worthy of the 21st century.
Michelle Smith
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this story! This needs to be told more! Thank you for this!
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is an amazing novel. The author's writing is colorful and descriptive. The story is engaging and the illustrations draw the reader into the setting and into the souls of the characters.

Jackie Morris' fairy tale is a fantasy-adventure that should delight children and adults alike. I call it a fairy tale because I truly believe it is a story that I will never forget.

I will admit to being a little concerned about the content when the story opened with prostitutes
Bryan Wigmore
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jackie Morris is a marvel. This feels like a classic fairy tale, with some modern trappings. I don't know how closely it resembles traditional versions of EOTSWOTM, (for example the one Kay Nielsen illustrated, which I have on my to-read pile), but either way, it's a lovely little book. The lush writing carries you to a far-off world of story, which borders ours and lies somewhere between childhood and adulthood, and matches the author's own beautiful watercolour illustrations.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this beautifully illustrated book because it's the next play that Debut Players is doing (and that my kiddo will be in).... It's an adaptation of the original fairy tale so I understand it's similar but different, mostly in the ending.

I will just say that I really enjoyed both the beautiful illustrations and the gorgeous descriptive 'magical' prose. I enjoyed the immigrant story beginning which is another differentiation from the original. And I liked the ending.
Lindsey Sanders
There were parts of this retelling that I really enjoyed. It was set in more modern times and the illustrations in the book were really beautiful. I did not like the ending though at all and it felt very abrupt to me.
Jasmine D
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book.
Isabel Ruiz-Barter
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
amazing book
Lauren Long
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Yes. Read this.
Alexandra Largu
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. From the beautiful writing style to the magical illustrations, it was the most perfect whimsical fairytale. And the ending blew me away
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations, good retelling, and I loved the nontraditional ending.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book. In every aspect: the story, the writing, the paintings. Loved til the last page, one is never too old for fairytales.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my favorite book that I read in quite a long time! Strongly recommend.
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Jackie Morris lives in a small house on the Welsh coast. She wanted to be an artist from the earliest she could remember. After studying art at Hereford and Bath Academy she went on to illustrate for magazines and newspapers. She began her first book for children the week after her first child, Thomas was born and has gone on to illustrate and write many books.
“You have traveled far, but the hardest part of a journey is always the next step.” 17 likes
“Be brave, be clever, and be true to your heart.” 3 likes
More quotes…