Genre: Folktale / Norway / Drama / Romance
Year Published: 1991
Year Read: 1998
Series: We All Have Tales
Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books
For many years I have been a big fan of Rabbit Ears ever since I was a child and I have seen many Rabbit Ears stories that were about the whole love conquering evil theme. Well, “East of the Sun West of the Moon” is one of those stories and is also a beautiful love story from the well-known Rabbit Ears “We All Have Tales” series. With Max Von Sydow’s touching narration, Lyle Mays’ soothing and dramatic music and Vivienne Flesher’s magnificent drawings, this video is sure to be a true classic among both children and adults.
Max Von Sydow’s narration is mesmerizing and haunting at the same time as he brilliantly narrates a beautiful woman’s attempts at trying to rescue the love of her life from the clutches of the evil troll queen. Max Von Sydow, most notable for his acting in “The Exorcist,” provides a haunting voice when he is voicing the Troll Queen. A great example of this is when Max Von Sydow depicts the Troll Queens laughter as he laughs in a hollow and frightening tone. Also, Max Von Sydow narrates the story with a soothing voice, especially of the scene where the Prince calmly tells the Troll Queen that the power of love broke the spell. Lyle Mays’ enchanting music provides a spirited sound to this story and one scene where the music was truly sensational was the scene of the girl and the bear traveling in the forest together with the sound of the piano, accompanied by the orchestra of strings, providing the background music. Vivienne Flesher’s beautiful illustrations are smoothed out and enchanting and she brings life to the girl as she illustrates her with flourishing blond hair and beautiful facial features.
Parents should know that there are some scary scenes in this video that include the North Wind and the Troll Queen. Both these characters are threatening towards the girl, but the Troll Queen is probably the one that younger children will be scared of the most. The North Wind is portrayed as black gusts of wind, but the way that Max Von Sydow makes the North Wind’s voice extremely menacing will be too frightening for smaller children to handle. The scene where the girl meets the Troll Queen is probably the video’s scariest scene as the Troll Queen is depicted as a grayish-blue woman whose red mouth is mostly shown, especially when she is screaming at the girl and she usually hangs around the darkest corners of her castle. Also, the Troll Queen’s transformation into a genuine troll may be upsetting for small children, even though the drawings are so smudged that the child probably would not know the difference anyway.
“East of the Sun West of the Moon” is one of Rabbit Ears’ most dramatic and romantic stories in the “We All Have Tales” series. Also, its masterful storytelling makes this story extremely exciting and emotional to watch about the girl’s plight when she breaks her promise to the prince.
1991 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
1991 CINE Golden Eagle Award
1991 Parents Magazine – The Year’s Best Videos for kids
1993 American Library Association – Notable Children’s Recording
1993 Parents’ Choice Silver Honors (audio)
Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog