When Ivan’s little brother is stolen away by the terrifying Starjik, Ivan sets out into a cold, inhospitable world to bring him back. Ivan’s chances in this frozen world seem slim, and Starjik has a wild, cruel magic on his side. And yet as his adventure continues, it becomes clear that Ivan may have a friend – and a little magic – on his side too. When I was younger I read this book endlessly. It’s one of those stories you experience with your heart in your mouth, right through to the very end.
Could there be any greater adventure than setting sail across unmapped seas, guided by an unreliable Bellman, to a mysterious island where the Snarks live? This story has everything you could possibly want: humour, heart, tragedy, a man who’s forgotten his own name and a beaver. The magical element really comes in the Snarks themselves. Imagine: a beast that can cause you to softly and suddenly vanish away… If your Snark be a Boojum, that is.
I recently read this beautiful tale about Mila who sets out with her sisters into a world of everlasting winter to rescue their brother Oskar. But has he been taken by the mysterious bear-like visitor who arrived uninvited at their home the night before his disappearance? Or has he left them of his own free will? You’ll have to join Mila on her adventure into the magical forests with a sorcerer named Rune to find out – but I can promise that you won’t regret it.
It’s another icy adventure (I’m starting to think there could be a hidden theme here…)! This time we’re with a girl whose hippy mother named her Owl, who’s on a mission to find out about the dad she’s never known. But the person he turns out to be is certainly not the one she’s expecting! And besides, why do strange frost patterns keep appearing on her skin? This is a joyous read that – for me – really captures the wild and captivating magic of winter, rooted gloriously in folklore and the realms of spirits.
I couldn’t write a list of ‘magical adventures’ and not include Where the Wild Things Are. In this gorgeous picture book we go on a journey with Max, who’s been sent to his room for chasing the dog with a fork, and being an all-round wild thing. But somehow his room becomes a forest, and when he travels across the sea by boat he finds more Wild Things and becomes their king. This story is really the embodiment of an emotion and the power of those final lines – the release of them – still bring me to (happy) tears.