And Now I Want To Ride A Bear: Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

March 28, 2013 Uncategorized 36

Splendid Thursday, Bookworms.

Remember back when I read American Gods and I was all “I need more Neil Gaiman in my life?” Well. I made good on my promise to myself. During a Kindle sale I noticed another Gaiman title and snapped it up at a bargain price. This novel? Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman writes for a variety of age groups. Me being me, I paid absolutely no attention to whether or not this was an adult book or a children’s book. Luckily, Gaiman’s whimsy is so delightful it really doesn’t matter.


Odd and the Frost Giants centers on a young Viking boy named Odd. Odd is aptly named (although in Viking lore the name is meant to be lucky) because he’s the “odd” man out. His father died and his mother remarried a major tool. Also, Odd managed to chop a tree down which landed on his leg and thus needs to use a crutch to get around. I really can’t discuss this book much further without getting spoiler-happy. It’s really short, y’all. So. If you want to avoid spoilers, you can stop reading now.

Is it safe? Good. Okay. So. Odd has had quite enough of his crappy stepfather’s antics and decides to run away. He makes it out to his old hut (because they’re Vikings and they live in huts surrounding the Mead Hall, yo) only to meet up with a weird trio of animals. A bear, a fox, and an eagle follow him home. Odd lets them in, gives them some salmon, and goes to sleep. (I guess Odd figured if the bear had just eaten he wouldn’t be interested in devouring him? I realize I shouldn’t question the judgement of children’s characters, but really, Odd. What would your mother say?)

As it turns out, the animals aren’t REALLY animals. They’re Odin, Thor, and Loki who are trapped in animal form. Which explains why the bear didn’t eat him. They figure all of this out and Odd decides to join them on their quest to get back into their normal bodies.

How is Odin supposed to get his swagger on when he's stuck in the body of a bird, for heaven's sake?

How is Odin supposed to get his swagger on when he’s stuck in the body of a bird, for heaven’s sake?

Oh yeah. And because of Odd’s busted leg slowing down the trio, Thor (who is stuck in the form of a bear) totally lets him ride on his back. I wonder if God-Bears are stinky. Would immortality keep you from smelling like a gross bear? Let’s say that this is the case. Because I would totally ride a bear, if it smelled decent. Who am I kidding? I’d ride a stinky bear too. I’d get a fancy bear saddle and a Viking helmet. Glorious. (I realize this paragraph is probably going to lead to me getting a LOT of hits from people looking for animal porn. Sigh.)

This book was totally entertaining. Norse mythology and all that. It’s for kids, so maybe it’d make for a good chapter book bedtime story for those of you with youngins at home? A nice change of pace from Captain Underpants or what-have-you. So, Bookworms. The question I pose to you is this: if you could ride any wild animal, what would you choose, and why? Bonus points for creativity and stench reduction implements.

36 Responses to “And Now I Want To Ride A Bear: Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman”

  1. clairetomelty

    HI Katie,

    I just wanted to say that after having a look around I really like you’re blog! I’m a bit of a book worm myself (English teacher in training).

    In answer to your question I’d choose an ostrich.Though it would be unsaddled and without reigns, thus I’d have no control, I’d enjoy that and I’d just let it take me where ever it felt like going. Also I imagine it’s feathers would feel lovely and soft.

    • clairetomelty

      I just realised I identified myself as an English teacher and yet I misused an embarrassing! I meant your blog, not you’re blog….

    • Words for Worms

      Good call on the Ostrich! I saw that in the Swiss Family Robinson, and I thought it looked like fun! Then I saw an episode of Dirty Jobs where the Ostriches were violent and peck-happy… So. I hope your Ostrich is a tame one! πŸ™‚

  2. justJen

    It’d have to be a pretty hefty animal for me to ‘ride’, so I’d go with Falcor, even though he’s technically not a “wild animal”. If I could magically shrink myself, then a romp aboard an albatross (like Bianca and Bernard! Woah, really dating myself here) or other large winged one would be tres cool. The wind would help with stench πŸ™‚

  3. therelentlessreader

    I’ve never read Gaiman. I can’t believe I’m admitting that. Argh.

  4. Sarah Says Read

    OKay so I kind of didn’t like American Gods, but then I read Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book which is a kids/YA book, and I have to say that so far his kids books sound way more awesome. So maybe I’ll give this one a try when I want to give Gaiman another go.

    Now what animal would I want to ride… hmmm…. a lion would be pretty cool. Assuming that there’s some sort of witchery or something going on so that it can’t just decide to have me for dinner.

    Good luck getting hit with all that animal porn spam!

    • Words for Worms

      WordPress has a pretty sweet spam filter, but if anything truly ridiculous pops up, I’ll be sure to comment. A lion huh? Boy lion or girl lion? Because, you know, the mane totally makes a difference for riding purposes.

  5. Jenny

    Camel. Of course. Of course I would ride a camel. Camels are awesome enough that I would be willing to put up with the smell. Camels are so cool AND when you get where you’re going, allegedly you let them know and they kneel down and you just slide off their necks. That’s what I’ve heard about riding camels.

  6. Daddio

    I’d ride a whale. If for no other reason, they’re so gentle and they smell like ocean.

  7. Alyssa

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Gaiman because I am literally going through his entire collection this year – no seriously I have already read or listened to nearly every Gaiman over the past year!! Anywho, I digress – LOVED this audiobook so hard and I don’t know if you have listened to him narrate but DO IT. He does an amazing job. I loved how whimsical but layered this one was and did you know that he is writing a sequel? YAY!! I am so gald that you reviewed this, it made me smile! :]

    • Alyssa

      ALSO I just realized that I got too excited and didn’t answer your question. A wolf, or a dragon HANDS DOWN. Though it would have to be a huge wolf, like a Direwolf because it has to be ominous and such…

  8. thia

    Hi, Katie
    I stumbled on your blog from the Bloggie Awards page, and I totally love this blog! I am from Indonesia (that’s somewhere near Australia and Singapore, jsyk), so I rarely read American literature. But I wish I could get copy of books you recommended in TTT. Maybe I should start book-hunting soon πŸ˜€

    And about the animal, I’d settle with an eagle, a massive one. It would feel just awesome to take a dive in the deep sky, wouldn’t it?

    Keep being awesome <3

    • Words for Worms

      Awww! Indonesia! SWEET! I feel all international and stuff. WELCOME and THANK YOU! I know nothing about international shipping, but I think an e-reader might make life easier for you (of course, they cost more than regular books, so it’s a bit of an investment, but the internet is eeeeverywhere and you could get ALL THE BOOKS!) A giant eagle to ride sounds pretty awesome, good call! πŸ™‚

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