Juvenile Mark Helprin A City in Winter

ISBN 13: 9780670868438

A City in Winter

4.07 avg rating
( 579 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780670868438: A City in Winter

Driven to avenge the murder of her royal parents and reclaim their lost kingdom, the daring young heroine and would-be queen journeys to the besieged city on the plain to seek out its eveil conqueror, the Usurper. Mark Helprin's spellbing tale reveals a city veiled in snow, at once divine and deadly. Van Allsburg's stunning illustrations supply a palpable richness which captures all the exhilarating expanse of the story. 13 color illustrations.

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Review:

Another ambitious and glossy collaboration between novelist Mark Helprin and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, continuing the story of Swan Lake, their earlier book that recreated the ballet classic for children. Emulating Maurice Sendak's reinterpretation of The Nutcracker, both the earlier book and A City in Winter abound in winter season atmosphere and fairy tale magic. At the end of Swan Lake, the unnamed little girl who has heard the story of a prince and his beautiful lover Odette usurped from their kingdom by evil forces, realizes that she is the daughter of the pair, and the rightful heir to the kingdom. As the sequel begins, the girl is now an adult, restored to the throne as queen. She recalls her return to the city at age ten, and tells how the restoration came about.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6-A beautiful, if pointless, book. The tale begins with a pregnant queen who is writing her story for her unborn child. She recounts the many murders in her family by the usurper, and her own quest, at age 10, to regain the throne. She speaks of the hardships of war, the grief of parting with loved ones, and the weight of meeting her responsibilities. She ends the story as the actual uprising against the usurper begins, but readers already know how things work out, so all loose ends are neatly tied together. There is a detached tone in the narrator's voice that creates a dreamy quality, which allows readers to move through the story without actually getting involved in it. That dreaminess carries over into the images Helprin uses, and the surreal twists and turns of this convoluted plot. The text, which ranges from tedious double talk to smug inner musings by the child queen, plods along with a destination in mind, though it is too obviously manipulated in several places. Helprin's writing style does add a certain richness to the text; however, it is merely frosting on a cardboard cake. The characters are dismally shallow. Van Allsburg's 13 illustrations are done in his typical style-odd angles, somber colors, and high definition. They competently reflect the text but have the same sterile feel as the narrative. As a story to be cherished by readers of any age, this offering simply doesn't work. It is much too complicated for the elementary crowd and older readers capable of wading through it will undoubtedly prefer something with more substance. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or Susan Cooper, to name a few, provide far better tales.
Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Mark Helprin
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Book Description U.S.A.: Viking/Ariel, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. New condition first edition.clean pages and DJ. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-1484849922446

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Book Description Viking Press, New York, 1996. Cloth. Book Condition: New. First edition. New. Beautiful full page color illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express. Bookseller Inventory # 1993

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Book Description Viking, NY, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Chris Van Allsburg (illustrator). 1st Edition. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). Book. Bookseller Inventory # 039988

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Book Description 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: new. Van Alsberg, Chris (illustrator). Collector's item, brand new book signed and dated by author. Bookseller Inventory # CY0003

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Book Description Viking Ariel, 1996. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Van Allsburg, Chris (illustrator). First Edition - First Printing. Dedication to PO prior to title page. Jacket in mylar cover. 147 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 005841

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