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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Astrid the Unstoppable
by Maria Parr
Age Range: 9-11
Astrid Glimmerdal – nicknamed the little thunderbolt – loves to spend her days racing down the mountainside on her sledge or skis. Astrid feels it’s extremely important to sing when she’s skiing, the louder the better! There are no other children to play with in Glimmerdal and the nearby campsite Hagen’s Wellness Retreat, run by the bad-tempered Klaus Hagen, doesn’t allow children to stay there.
Astrid does have a best friend though, her irascible 74-year-old godfather Gunnvald. His workshop is like her second home and they always have a project on the go including designing the perfect steerable sledge with Astrid as the test pilot. When a family come to stay in Glimmerdal for a holiday Astrid is delighted. Now she will have friends to play with.
Then Astrid discovers Gunnvald has been keeping a secret from her. First she comes across a letter addressed to Ms A. Zimmerman, then Gunnvald is found reading a book called Heidi. When Gunnvald has an accident and ends up in hospital a mysterious woman, also called Heidi, turns up on his farm and everything changes. Astrid is not happy but as the book titles suggests she is unstoppable and luckily she has a plan …
This is Norwegian author Maria Parr’s second novel translated into English by Guy Puzey. Like the enchanting Waffle Hearts this is a warm and funny story about friendship and family. Astrid is a feisty, independent child with a touch of Pippi Longstocking and Anne of Green Gables; her bright red curls and endless energy are infectious as she bounds through the pages of the atmospheric snowy landscape of Glimmerdal on her hair-raising escapades. The story is also reminiscent of the classic Heidi too. The world of adult secrets and mistakes is hard for Astrid to understand, but even though she is only ten she finds a maturity in dealing with the pain she observes and is determined to find a solution.
Astrid the Unstoppable is another gem from Parr and readers will certainly enjoy meeting the bubbly and lively Astrid as she whizzes through the snow singing at the top of her voice.