The White Hare (Shadows & Light)

This book by Nicola Davies is about a girl named Ostra. She is a strong, hardworking girl. Her mother is dead, and her father is gone all day getting fish for the family, so she has to take care of her younger siblings and the house. During the winter months, she weaves crab baskets out of willow branches for her father. One cold night, a robin comes by and asks her for some food. She gives him some of the little food she has, and just before he flies off, he says she won’t be sorry. All winter she helps other small creatures, who promise her that she won’t regret being kind to them. In the spring, Wolvas, the hunter, decides he wants to marry Ostra, but not because he loves her. He just wants to have her work to himself. You will have to read the book to find out what happens next!

“Ostra was grief stricken. Although there was less work to do now, she cried over the three fewer mouths to feed, and fewer little bodies to clothe and fuss over, to care for and cuddle.”

The White Hare is a really interesting fairy tale, and it makes you realize how close we all are to the animals. The book has beautiful illustrations, that are dreamlike but kind of sad and dark, even though there are some that are very colorful. They fit the story very well, because a lot of really sad things happen to Ostra, and the story doesn’t really have a happy ending. This would probably be a good fairy tale for older children, who have already read a lot of fairy tales. It is different than the ones you usually hear.