Neil Gaiman wrote Odd and the Frost Giants for World Book Day in the United Kingdom. Gaiman explains:
“In most of the world (but not America) they have World Book Day. On World Book Day, in the UK, schoolchildren are given book tokens to buy books with, and a selection of special World Book Day Books are written and published and put on sale. The authors are not paid; the publishers do it for nothing. The idea is to get children reading.”
The books are limited to just 15,000 words, which turns out to be the perfect length for this tale. There are no throwaway words, plot detours, or extra characters here. Just the necessary elements to create adventure–a clever child, some supernatural creatures, and a quest. Neil Gaiman once wrote that “When I was a young writer, I liked to imagine that I was paying someone for every word I wrote, rather than being paid for it; it was a fine way to discipline myself only to use those words I needed.” Odd and the Frost Giants reminds me a lot of The 13 Clocksby James Thurber, a book that Gaiman admires. Read this out loud as a family–and if you’re left wanting more, take heart. Gaiman promises to write more “astonishingly short” adventures for Odd.