Book Report: Runnel the Ice Bear

Book Report: Runnel the Ice Bear-attachment0

Mark R. Leaman’s The Adventures of Runnel, The Ice Bear is a Christmas-y (though not exclusively) read for kids. Older kids, preferably, with expanded vocabularies and the ability to get through pages without the aid of illustrations.

Which is not to say that Runnel makes due without pictures. Artist Genevieve Selene Leaman Strickland contributed five pencil drawings (which, oddly, run vertical rather than horizontal) to the book. Runnel’s adventures, told in five parts, take readers to the mystical, imaginary world of the North Pole where, thanks to a magical crystal, “animals can walk and talk just like people.”

Runnel lacks a certain children’s book slickness, but the five stories each combine elements of adventure, danger and problem solving that make them compelling and engaging. There’s also a dose of morality (five young polar bear cubs learn responsibility when helping Santa load his sleigh; a naughty boy channels his angst into a snowman which—thanks to the special crystal—comes to life, badness intact) and some Narnia-esque magic.

Runnel, the title character, is a fantastic creature originally fashioned from snow by a young girl. Thanks to the North Pole crystal, he not only comes to life but is imbued with the power to help those in need. Like the legendary Frosty the Snowman, Runnel can melt but is never gone for good. Like Santa says, “Runnel is a magic bear. Didn’t you know? He’ll be back the next time someone’s in trouble. Don’t worry!”

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

SHARE
About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.