Odd isn't really that odd - except that his name, Odd, is supposed to be lucky, and he's really not very. Lucky, that is.
It began when Odd's father was killed in a Viking raid. Except he wasn't - he died jumping overboard to save one of the ponies, on the way home. And when his mother remarried, it was to Fat Elfred, who isn't really nice to Odd. At all. Because, you see, three weeks after Odd's father died, he went into the woods with his father's biggest axe, and tried to chop down the biggest tree. Which fell on and crushed his foot, so Odd really isn't very much use at all in his small Viking village.
So, when it's time for spring, but winter just isn't ending, and the villagers (especially Fat Elfred) are getting grumpier and grumpier, Odd decides to head to his father's old woodcutting hut, way out in the woods. For good.
And that's when he meets a fox, who leads him to a bear, and is followed by an eagle. The bear is stuck in a tree, and when Odd saves him (even though he's not entirely sure the bear won't eat him), that's when the adventure really gets going. Because that night, back at the hut, Odd is pretty sure he hears the three animals arguing. And it turns out that they are much, much more than a trio of talking animals.
This is a quick read from my absolute favorite author that's perfect to curl up with on a cold, snowy afternoon. You'll cheer out loud for Odd as the boy with nothing more than an irritating smile turns out to be the only one who can lead the gods home, outwit the frost giants, and bring back the spring. Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline and The Graveyard Book, has done it again - clever, very funny, and full of magic, this little book is bursting with awesome.
(now reading Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey)