About the Book
Title: The Bifrost Bridge | Author: James Bradley Clarke | Illustrator (interior): Marcus Gran | Publication Date: January, 2013 | Publisher: Wynwidyn Press | Pages: 92 | Recommended Ages: 6+ (read-aloud)
Summary: The Bifrost Bridge is a Viking princess fairy tale intertwined with Norse mythology. Silya, the feisty ten year old Princess of Norway, eagerly awaits the arrival of her cousin and best friend, Princess Hedda of Denmark. The princesses are both looking forward to the summer solstice celebration, but trouble lurks in their future as magical villains see the girls as being vital for their deadly conspiracy. Hedda and Silya find themselves cast into a dangerous adventure filled with fire giants, female warrior angels and the God of Thunder.
1. What is the book about? This story is about two princesses named Silya and Hedda and they are best friends and cousins. One day, Silya gets kidnapped by Loki and the fire giants and then Hedda goes over the Bifrost Bridge to find the Valkyries to save Silya. Fenris (the son of Loki), the trolls, and the fire giants go do battle against Midgard which is the kingdom of Denmark. The Valkyries save Silya and Denmark.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? I think the book cover was cool and I would buy the book just for the cover because it looks good and it makes the book look good. I like that there are pictures in the book, but it doesn’t look like people have a mouth. The pictures could have been a bit better.
3. What are your favorite parts of the book? I liked when Hedda goes over the Bifrost Bridge and finds the Valkyries because that part is cool. I like everything that has to do with mythology and magic.
4. Was there anything that you didn’t like or that didn’t make sense? I didn’t like how Hermod died at the end because it was sad and the book should have ended in a happy way.
5. What are some of the things you learned from the book? I learned about Norse mythology and about gods and goddesses like Thor, Odin, Sif, Svava, Loki, Fenris, and more. I really like learning anything I can about mythology because it’s cool.
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I loved, loved, loved it because I liked the story. It was interesting and I like anything having to do with mythology.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think girls 7 to 14 years old and boys 6 to 9 years old would like this book. I don’t think boys like reading about princesses when they are older.
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: The Bifrost Bridge (pronounced roughly, “BEEF-roast”) whisks the reader away on a fantastical adventure set in the legendary Kingdom of Midgard, which falls under the protection of the Norse Gods residing on the other side of the Bifrost Bridge in the land of Asgard. When summer vacation brings together the young princesses of Norway and Denmark (Silya and Hedda, respectively), neither could have anticipated that they, along with all of Midgard, would be placed in the center of a battle between the Norse Gods and the trickster shape-shifting God Loki, who was exiled from Asgard.
Loki plots his revenge by attempting to kidnap the two young princesses with the help of his son Fenris (a nasty wolf) and the fire giants. Hedda, the Danish princess, manages to escape across the Bifrost Bridge to Asgard where she enlists the help of the mighty female warriors, the Valkyries, and the God of Thunder, Thor. These mighty warriors must not only stop a battle between the trolls and the townspeople of Tunsberg, but they must hurry to save Silya from the evil clutches of Loki and his wife, Sigyn. Filled with action, danger, legendary Norse Gods, mythical creatures, and two very brave and loyal princesses, The Bifrost Bridge is an edge-of your seat adventure.
I started reading this book to myself with the intention of letting my daughter read it by herself, but I stopped after about five chapters and decided this was a perfect read-aloud book for my two children. I was right!! They loved it – especially as a book I read to them. This was a relatively short read (under 100 pages) but there was just the right amount of detail to keep my children captivated with the story, plenty of dialogue allowing for changes in voice to keep their attention, and a mix of interesting characters including princesses, Gods, Valkyries, elves, trolls, and more. This one is for young fantasy lovers!
The beginning of the book features an intro by the author’s daughter Hannah, who is the inspiration behind Princess Hedda. Her sister Sarah was the inspiration behind Princess Silya. According to Hannah, The Bifrost Bridge was a continuing story their father (author James Bradley Clarke) told them at bedtime. As parents, we know that a story filled with magic, adventure, and action as well as a few unexpected twists will fully captivate children. Further, the best stories are ones which feature an important life lesson or two. This is The Bifrost Bridge in a nutshell.
As you all know by now, I am a lover of all things related to mythology, and this extends to Norse mythology. When I was younger, I did do some reading about Norse mythology, but I was surprised by how little I actually did know. When the author first contacted me, I thought the Bifrost Bridge was a new concept created by the author, but it turns out it is part of Norse mythology. I did not know that and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned through this story.
I don’t normally spill the beans about endings, but I do have to address something that happens at the end of the book. On the very last page, we learn that a secondary character (who shall remain unnamed in this review) is ushered into Valhalla (i.e., the afterlife). While, overall everything ends well, it felt awkward to have an ending where we learn someone has died, even if it was done sensitively. The kids and I were left staring at each other without knowing what to say as I finished reading them the book. Awkward.
Do I still want to read more about Silya and Hedda? Yes!
I also feel like I need to comment on the illustrations. Time and time again my children comment on how much they love pictures in books and I normally feel like any illustration, simple or complex, is value-added. I don’t like criticizing illustrations, but in this case, I do feel like there could be better pictures. In some cases, I couldn’t decipher who or what was in the scene. The appreciation of art is a very personal thing, so it could just be me and my own opinion. That being said, I think the book cover is outstanding – I love it!
*For the record, my son desperately wanted to review this book, but he’s been ill so hasn’t been able to complete his review. He wanted to give his two cents as well to say that he loved it even more than his sister.
My Bottom Line: The Bifrost Bridge is an absolutely delightful and action-filled story steeped in Norse mythology and featuring an interesting collection of characters including princesses, chatty squirrels, trolls, giants, and many more, as well as a twisting plot that will keep even the youngest of children entertained. I highly recommend this book as a read-aloud book to children at home or in the classroom. It’s good clean fun for children aged 6 years and older.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. The author is participating in MDBR promotional services.
More Buzz About the Book
“A delightful and endearing adventure that winds Norse mythology and two young girls through a whirlwind of danger, friendship and standing up to evil-doers. The Princess heroines, Silya and Hedda, engage the reader with their charming day to day life at the celebrated summer solstice festival in ancient Norway… The book moves along easily and the characters are likable at once. A fun read for the parents, and challenging enough for the children because it may have a few new words and characters they may not know. It is an adorable story that will soon become a favorite.” ~ 5 Star Review, Janet, Amazon
“Bifrost Bridge is a beautiful fairytale, mixing legend and adventure and creating a wonderful reading experience for both children and adults alike. I read this to my 7 year old daughter, and my 10 year old daughter read it for herself; both of them were captivated by the story. My 7 year old loved the idea of two princesses being such close friends, and my 10 year old loved all of the action and suspense in the story. I enjoyed the Norse mythology woven into the tale. It’s a wonderful family story. I will be reading it to my sons next!” ~ 5 Star Review, Rebecca F., Amazon
“When I first looked into this book, I was sure that the world of fairy tales had been overdone so many times that I wouldn’t see much difference between this one & my other classic favorites that I enjoyed over the years with my children… However, I was proven wrong.. This is such a beautiful and entrancing fairy tale! Mr. Clarke takes the often repetitive world of fairy tales and adds an elegant, dramatic twist to it, producing an epic and moving adventure that children will forever cherish! My daughter and I read it together and had many nights where we just didn’t want to put it down! His characters, including the feisty Silya, are memorable and seem so very real! It’s a hard thing to do that with children’s fairy tales and again, I commend Mr. Clarke for releasing a wonderful new fairy tale to pass on to generations to come!” ~ 5 Star Review, Vicky R., Amazon
About the Author: James Bradley Clarke
James Bradley Clarke is a graduate of Hiram College, The University of Houston, and the University of Michigan. He currently resides in Oxford, Ohio, where he works as an academic librarian for Miami University. He grew up near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and he has spent most of his life in the Great Lakes region.
The Bifrost Bridge is Clarke’s first work of fiction. The children’s book was first developed as stories Clarke started telling to his two daughters back in the summer of 2003. Both girls shared a love for classic princess fairy tales, so he invented original princess characters for both of them. As residents in Riverside, Illinois, Clarke’s family lived in walking distance of the Brookfield Zoo where the girls regularly admired the Norwegian fjord horses. When he learned this ancient breed of horse was used by the Vikings, a specific medieval setting for the stories came into focus.
As a Hiram College student, Clarke had developed a love for the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, so he chose to borrow from mythology to provide magical elements. The girls became instantly enamored with these stories and they insisted on developing new adventures for the two Nordic princess characters. The first draft of a manuscript was produced during the summer of 2005. Clarke’s daughters were delighted with the bound copy they received as a Christmas gift later that year, so he began the process of becoming an author. Clarke has a love for history and a taste for plot driven stories about extraordinary individualism. Themes of fortitude and self-determination lay at the heart of Clarke’s writing interests.
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