He writes both children and adult books. His adult books include The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which won a British National Book Awards, and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel for 2014; Stardust, which won the Mythopoeic Award as best novel for adults in 1999; American Gods, which won the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, SFX, and Locus awards; Anansi Boys; Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances; and The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, which is a New York Times Bestseller. His children's books include The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish; Coraline, which won the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla, the BSFA, the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Bram Stoker awards; The Wolves in the Walls; Odd and the Frost Giants; and The Graveyard Book, which won the Newbery Award in 2009.
For someone known for the darker side of kid’s lit, like Coraline or The Graveyard Book, Gaiman’s tone in Odd and the Frost Giants is refreshingly bright and a great one to read to a child out loud.
Initially, Gaiman adopts a relatively straightforward fairy tale structure for Odd and the Frost Giants, but the premise is deliciously Gaiman, complete with gods in disguise. When young Odd (meaning “tip of the blade”) leaves home to escape the oppression of his stepfather, he encounters a bear trapped in a pine tree. After freeing the bear, a fox and an eagle join Odd, and that’s when the fun starts.
My local library hosts an annual book sale around this time of year, and I was lucky enough to uncover a copy of Odd and the Frost Giants, complete with beautiful illustrations by Brett Helquist (whose art you might know from A Series of Unfortunate Events). It is the fairly short, straightforward tale of an unlucky 12-year-old Norse boy named Odd, who has a shattered leg but runs away from home, and his abusive stepfather, after an extended, ongoing winter leaves everyone in the village leaner and a fair bit meaner. Odd returns to his deceased father’s cabin in the woods, where he encounters the gods Odin, Thor, and Loki recently banished from Asgard by a clever Frost Giant. Equipped with a crutch, his father’s woodcutter’s axe, and a smile that seems to know far too much, Odd assists the gods in their quest to return to Asgard and remove the Frost Giant from the land.