Jack Frost: The End Becomes the Beginning (5) (The Guardians) Hardcover – Illustrated, November 20, 2018
"There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider" by Jennifer Ward
From the creators of the bestselling There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog comes a spooky rendition of the popular “Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” song. | Learn more
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- Lexile Measure : AD870L
- Grade Level : 2 - 6
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- ISBN-10 : 1442430567
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1442430563
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.4 x 7.5 inches
- Publisher : Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books; Illustrated Edition (November 20, 2018)
- Reading level : 7 - 11 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #264,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I recommend this book for 3rd through 5th grades, depending on the reader’s abilities. As a mom and librarian who hasn’t yet read the previous books in the series, I viewed this on its own merits. I can see kids avidly reading it and being eager to find out the ending. It contains suspense and danger and we see the power of good come forth in response. It is a little difficult getting through the first part of the book with all the lengthy descriptions and backstories of the other Guardians. I think it wasn’t necessary to provide descriptions of so many characters and events from previous books; this story can stand on its own easily. The white font on black pages in the center of the book will be appealing to kids, although a little harder to read than black on white. Finally, Joyce is quite multi-talented, as his drawings are creative and add much to the story. This is one of the better books for elementary school ages, and – parents – your kids will want to come back for more.
(Please note that this review is coming from someone who saw the movie adaption first. As such, a few comparisons between the two are going to be made.)
Picking up after "Sandman and the War of Dreams", our story fast forwards many centuries later, in which the Guardians have long been bringing happiness to the children of the world, and have accepted their more popular nicknames of "Santa Claus", "The Easter Bunny", "The Tooth Fairy", and "The Sandman". The wizard Ombric, who was vaporized during the last great battle with Pitch, now lives in between seconds as Father Time, and Katherine has taken the role of Mother Goose---the protector of stories and imagination, and chronicling the exploits of her friends. And her story weaving skills will soon be of great importance when her friend, Nightlight, returns after being missing for over a century. But his years of being on the run from the Nightmare King have transformed him into a new entity altogether. And in order to stop Pitch once and for all, the Guardians will have to discover how their old friend became the spirit of winter, Jack Frost.
Anyone who saw "Rise of the Guardians" first and are expecting much of the same in the books, well....it's exactly like the book, and yet somehow, at the same time, nothing like the book, if that makes any sense. Most of the characters and elements you know from the film are here, but there's plenty of other characters and lore that the film left out. But I wouldn't call this a bad thing, because the movie was purposely telling a different story, with the Guardians already established. So if you enjoyed the film, then you can view this book as a prequel to it--detailing the origins of how the Guardians of Childhood came to be. So the film is less a faithful adaption of the book's plot, and more of a faithful adaption of the characters and lore.
Even though this story was written recently, it sounds like a fantasy tale passed down through the ages. This is the most unique fantasy world I've ever heard of or seen, with heroic werewolves, serpent monsters, tree languages, and that's just scratching the surface! Even better is the inclusion of William Joyce's pencil (and charcoal?) illustrations, which are so detailed and wondrous to gaze at.
Unlike the previous novels, this final installment comes with a bit of mood whiplash, as we're suddenly shot forward in time to the 1930s, with the Guardians now long fully established and famous throughout the world. But even after all this time, the threat of Pitch still looms, and as such, we finally get some more background information on Nightlight who, up to this point, has been mostly almost a side character, but is now given extreme importance as his transformation into Jack Frost is key in defeating the Nightmare King. It's obvious that Jack has a much more complicated back story here than in the movie, to the point that Movie/Jack is a completely different character, and in some respects, I like the movie version more. Book/Jack is still a bit cheeky and mischievous, but far more mature than his movie counterpart, with a staff that's revealed to be a sentient creature. The movie origin is much more simple and streamlined, with a story about a mystical boy trying to discover his forgotten past, whereas the book is trying to tell the origin of a magical entity learning to act more human, on top of having to wrap up a bunch of dangling plot threads throughout the series. I get the feeling that the author originally envisioned the series going one way, but then once the movie was in production, he altered a few things to make the book fall more in line with the movie. I may be wrong, but nonetheless, that's the vibe I get.
Also, when the final showdown with Pitch comes to pass, I can't help but admit that I like the movie's ending a bit more. In the film, Pitch's fate is left more open-ended, implying that the embodiment of fear can never truly be wiped out, but the Guardians will always be around to fight him, whereas here in the book, he's just straight up defeated/destroyed, seemingly permanently. And considering that World War II is just on the horizon in this timeline, seeing this immortal boogieman completely destroyed, while triumphant in the moment, just....doesn't seem right. Still, the way Pitch is destroyed comes as a surprise, and it shows the power and bravery in showing mercy to your enemy.
So while the series started off strong, I feel it petered out just a bit in the end. Still, this is one of the best modern fairy tales written in years, and I wish I would've read this series sooner. And despite my feelings on the arguably rushed ending, this is still a fantastic series that any child, or child at heart, will enjoy.
In conclusion, I'd say the book is worth the buy if you are a fan of the series. But if you're more familiar with the movie you may find this book a bit unsatisfying. I'd give the book an 8/10. Characters are well done, the story is gripping, but the pacing of the book left me unhappy.
Top reviews from other countries
El diseño es del libro precioso y el cierre perfecto de una saga de libros espectacular.
Viene con muchos dibujos que mejoran la lectura para los niños.
Lo recomiendo para aquellos que gustan de leer historias llenas de fantasía y aventura, y de la emoción de ser niños.
Wie dem auch sei, ich bin kein Jack Frost Fangirl, war aber mit dem Buch und dem Ende der Geschichte recht zufrieden.