Monday, February 6, 2012

The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey (book trailer)

Heidi over at the SurLaLune Blog posted a lovely review of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey not long ago and included the book trailer but I wanted to post on it anyway for three reasons:

1) it draws on a Russian snow child tale I've always loved
2) the book trailer is beautifully animated and a joy to watch
3) it's being highly recommended by Ali Shaw, author of The Girl With Glass Feet

Take a look:

Official book blurb:
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. 
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
The text begins like this:


Excerpt from CHAPTER 1

Wolverine River, Alaska, 1920 
Mabel had known there would be silence. That was the point, after all. No infants cooing or wailing. No neighbor children playfully hollering down the lane. No pad of small feet on wooden stairs worn smooth by generations, or clackety-clack of toys along the kitchen floor. All those sounds of her failure and regret would be left behind, and in their place there would be silence.
She had imagined that in the Alaska wilderness silence would be peaceful, like snow falling at night, air filled with promise but no sound, but that was not what she found. Instead, when she swept the plank floor, the broom bristles scritched like some sharp-toothed shrew nibbling at her heart. When she washed the dishes, plates and bowls clattered as if they were breaking to pieces. The only sound not of her making was a sudden “caw, cawww” from outside. Mabel wrung dishwater from a rag and looked out the kitchen window in time to see a raven flapping its way from one leafless birch tree to another. No children chasing each other through autumn leaves, calling each other’s names. Not even a solitary child on a swing. 
Norwegian cover
Italian cover
You can continue reading the excerpt HERE, which, if I wasn't sold on this book before, would have sealed the deal. It's just beautiful.
The images posted are variations on the cover, of which I'm glad there are so many (Heidi already posted some of the others). This is one tale I'm, again, mystified by the lack of illustrators tackling the subject. The visuals and the emotions in the story are so poignant. It's almost begging to be given form! (Kind of like the snow child herself.)
Ms. Ivey's website is HERE and you can now purchase the book HERE (it was released February 1st).

Relatedly, there's a Welsh theatrical production of a version of The Snow Child, which is where I found the above image. You can read more information and see more production images HERE.
The designs were created by artist/illustrator Fiona Woodcock and the trailer was animated by Verdant Films - something which seemed difficult to pin down when this book was getting so much attention. Such beautiful work needs to be acknowledged! Thankfully, book trailers are now eligible for Moby Awards so hopefully a) people will be more aware of those artists behind the scenes who are doing beautiful work to promote writers b) more effort will go into the quality of book trailers in general. Congratulations to Fiona Woodcock & Verdant Films! This is beautiful and unforgettable work.


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  2. Beautiful, simply beautiful! The book sounds magical.