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Cover image for East




Orlando, Florida : Harcourt, [2003]
Physical Description:
498 pages ; 22 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning UG 6.1 16.


Call Number
YA Pattou

On Order



Rose has always felt out of place in her family, a wanderer in a bunch of homebodies. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him--in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family--she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she loses her heart, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.
As familiar and moving as "Beauty and the Beast" and yet as fresh and original as only the best fantasy can be, East is a novel retelling of the classic tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," a sweeping romantic epic in the tradition of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine.

Author Notes

EDITH PATTOU is the author of East, and the two novels in the Songs of Eirren sequence: Hero's Song and Fire Arrow, a Booklist Top Ten Fantasy Novel of the Year, as well as Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, a picture book illustrated by Tricia Tusa. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-A compelling novelization of the folktale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Rose's story-from her birth as a replacement for a dead sister to her eventual happy marriage to Charles VI's fifth child-is recounted from the kaleidoscopic viewpoints of her father, her brother, the troll queen who bewitched the Dauphin, the White Bear whom the Dauphin became until Rose's rescue, and Rose herself. Each character's unique perspective and voice adds texture and tension to the plot, which is imbued with Nordic mythology and unfolds in a unique story line. Numerous interpersonal tensions are examined, including those between a comparatively "modern" man and his superstitious wife, between the bewitched bear and the women who want to claim him as a mate, and between Rose and the neighbors she meets in each of her worlds. Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy, inviting those unaccustomed to either genre to explore the frozen world of questing that she has so vividly created.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers with a taste for fantasy and folklore will embrace Pattou's (Hero's Song) lushly rendered retelling of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." In an old Norwegian village, a highly superstitious mother tries to protect her youngest child, Rose, from a dire prophecy; as the various characters take turns narrating the story, it is readily apparent that no one else takes the superstitions seriously. Nevertheless, Rose is "different" in many ways, from her purple eyes to her passion for weaving, which leads her to make a cloak patterned with a "wind rose" (a mapmaker's symbol indicating the direction of the winds)She also seems to attract the attention of a white bear, and when the bear finally approaches her, offering to make her poor family prosper and to restore her ill sister's health if Rose will come away with him, she finds the offer impossible to resist. Pattou unfolds her story slowly and carefully, luring readers across many miles with the brave and determined Rose. Handsomely evoking a landscape filled with castles, trolls, shamans and spellbound princes, the story will exercise its audience's imagination. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Adapting Beauty and the Beast, Pattou weaves a tale of Rose, a Scandinavian girl, and the white bear who needs her help to become a man again. The story references East of the Sun, West of the Moon when Rose treks to the extreme Arctic to rescue the white bear from the Troll Queen. This retelling's detailed setting and emotionally resonant relationships will engage readers. From HORN BOOK Spring 2004, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Using multiple narrators, Pattou expands the Scandinavian folktale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" to epic length--adding little to the original. A white bear appears at a poor Norwegian farmer's door, promising a reversal of the family's fortunes in exchange for worrisomely fearless Rose. Away goes Rose on the bear's back, to a subterranean palace in "Fransk" where, eventually, she learns that the bear is an enchanted human prince. When he's swept off by a troll queen who's fallen in love with him, Rose, aided by a drunken sea captain, an Inuit shaman, and others, travels to the Arctic's far reaches to confront her, whereupon she conveniently destroys herself, leaving Rose and the bewildered prince free to settle into a happily-ever-after. Rose is a sturdy character inside and out, some in the supporting cast show engaging foibles, and the pace does pick up in the second half--but only fitfully does this achieve the intensity of feeling or vividness of setting that drives the best of the recent flurry of retold romances. (glossary) (Fiction. 11-15) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. The author of Hero's Song (1991) and Fire Arrow (1998) weaves the essentials of the children's fairy tale East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon into a rich tapestry that will resonate with readers of books such as Robin McKinley's renderings of Beauty and the Beast. The story, which gently unfolds in several distinct voices, focuses on Rose, the youngest of seven children. When Rose is almost 15, a white bear appears at the door, asking Father to turn over his youngest daughter. The animal carries Rose to a distant castle, where she lives contentedly. Every night, a mysterious visitor climbs into her bed and hides under the covers. Is it the bear? Is it the scaly monster she sees in her dreams? She feels she must know. Unfortunately, her willfulness seals the fate of her nighttime visitor, who falls into the hands of the patient Troll Queen and is whisked away to an unreachable place. Guilt sets in, and Rose begins a long, arduous journey to right the wrong she has done. What ensues is the stuff of epic tale telling, replete with high drama and compelling characterizations. --Sally Estes Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In this elegant retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Rose's family is given a proposal by a mysterious White Bear. He will give them a fortune and make her sick sister well if Rose will come and live with him in his faraway lair. Cold Weather Appeal: As the folktale goes, Rose is visited nightly by a strange bedfellow until her curiosity gets the best of her. I ask, on a cold December night, wouldn't you want a princely polar bear on your side, and in your bed? Why It Is for Us: The story is told in many voices, from the points of view of Rose, Bear, and the Troll Queen, among others. The result is a rich and resonant revision, far beyond the usual fairy tale redux. [First published as a hardcover in 2003.]-Angelina Benedetti (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.