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4.3 out of 5 stars32
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2013
A single story thread of The Storyteller of Nord ties together a wonderful set of other stories of the beginning of world, love, hope, manipulative Gods, a bit of violence (nothing above a U/PG rating for sure), and all those other great things that make myths and fairy tales so much fun!

There's an undeniable English Wit here, from little textual asides, to little bits in the art itself. Ms Greenberg has created a lovely place to escape to and has managed to capture something of that childhood wonder.

Yet more proof (isn't it about time that the stuffy old Literati gave up denying it?) that Graphic Novels should not be derided, and are of the great tradition of storytelling. This is a perfect present for anyone young and old who will open up to the possibility of a great story from a Graphic Novel.

Do not read the synopsis, do not read any spoiler reviews, just delve straight in and be lost in a wonderful world where you can find out what happens to The Storyteller and what has happened in the world he lives in.
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on 24 December 2013
"The Encyclopedia of Early Earth" written by Isabel Greenberg is intriguing book that combines the comic format and interesting story about the ancient civilization that existed before our own, on this planet.

Inside this graphic novel reader can found many stories that are told by boy who is member of fictional culture while he's on an expedition from North to South Pole where he'll meet his love, though their love won't be completely happy.
Reason being our planet has provided them different fate than the one they want, while Earth magnetic field will prevent them to ever touch again.

And while his life is passing, full of solitude and longing for a distant love, a man from North will tell us many stories, to fulfill the emptiness because he cannot be with his beloved...

The stories author delivered in his Encyclopedia fit perfectly into each other, while author delivers one myth after the other, many times bringing smile on reader's lips.
The novel illustrations have been made in an interesting way, usually in black and white technique, sometimes combining them with other colors when author wants to point out something, producing innocent looking pictures even in situations when the story will be bitter.

Although many myths that can be found inside will be known to reader, the author combined them with some unknown stories, and using above mentioned humor all together results in compilation that looks interesting and modern.

Therefore, this unusual experiment that made good use of graphical novel form in a literary way can be both recommend to young and older readers; given its genre is difficult to determine I recommend you to give it a chance if you like comics, mythology or drama because a bit of everything of these you can find inside.
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on 4 July 2014
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is a graphic novel that follows a storyteller as he travels from the North to the South Pole to look for a lost part of his soul. He finds it being taken care of by a girl he meets at there. He and the girl fall in love but appear to be magnetically repelled by each other and are unable to touch (this is mentioned at the start so is in no way a spoiler).

The book recounts the stories and adventures our storyteller has experienced along the way. He collects stories from the various people he encounters, which cover a variety of folktales, and the beliefs of the people. We also get to hear about Birdman (god) and his children and how the Earth was created, as well as stories that have a familiar biblical feel - the great flood, splitting a baby in two (or three as the case may be).

The stories are told in a quirky voice which works for the most part. Occasionally, a phrase will be used that feels too modern for the setting and I know it is probably intentionally done but it grates slightly in places. Otherwise, it is nicely written and humorous.

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is a lovely book. Before you even delve inside it looks nice on a shelf. My copy is hardcover and the faint drawings you can see are actually shiny and slightly embossed. The inside looks a bit like it has been drawn in fountain pen. Isabel Greenberg says at the end that she had a font made of her handwriting - it is so neat. The art style is effective, mostly using a minimum number of colours on each page.

I really enjoyed reading this. It was a nice, uncomplicated read that gave me a break from heavier, more intense books... and it smells like crayons!
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on 17 October 2013
I loved this book. I'm very new to graphic novels and I saw this book at a comic fair and I just had to buy it. It was a good decision. The central characters (insofar as there are central characters in this gorgeous smorgasbord of stories) really felt alive to me, and held the book together. I've now lent the book out (twice!) so I haven't got it to hand, but Isabel Greenberg's pictures of the pair and their story have stayed in my head and heart. Early Earth, with all of its stories, seems like a very rich place to live. Greenberg shows remarkable skill in bringing it to life, and above all, imagination. Buy it now! You won't regret it.
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on 22 December 2015
Since December 2015 has been one of the hottest Christmasses on record here in the UK, the only snow you'll likely to encounter at the moment is this wonderful book, for which the term 'graphic novel' is I'm afraid woefully inaccurate to describe the wonders herein. The author and illustrator is the aptly named Isabel Greenberg who has given us a celebration of storytelling in the Nordic lands, set in a time long long ago....anyone from 8 till 80 as the saying goes will love this, it's got some dry, ironic humour that will appear to teenagers, its approach to narrative is decidedly leftfield, events seem to span the whole of the globe not just the poles, gods are subject to the same prejudices and vanities as humanity, men and women fall in love disguise themselves, old crones defeat giant cyclops, some people are invisible, magicians plot revenge, intrigue takes place in courtyards, towers are built to the heavens etc. etc... Oh and it's illustrated and designed to the tiniest detail making it an object of wonder and awe - the black and white drawings with just the occasional splash of red signifying death would give the average noir comic book a run for its money. Even the author's handwriting has been transcribed as a font further underlying the love that has been lavished on this enterprise. An instant classic!
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on 5 March 2014
I had to read this in one sitting because the story was so emotionally compelling. The art style is homogenous and endearing and I love the way the writer/artist mixes motifs from different cultural backgrounds. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 19 November 2013
I found this book just by chance... the title caught my eye. And I love it! I suppose they'd call it a graphic novel, but once you get into it you forget the format and it takes you on a fabulous journey - it's funny and poignant and magical, without being mystical or preachy, which i hate. I'd say the humour is edgy and unpredictable... which i love... and the story keeps you engaged. I'm new to graphic novels... I've never known were to start, the graphic novel section of Waterstones is awash with stuff i can't stand –  super-hero masturbatory sci-fi or teenage-dystopian-noir-angst – and this book is not like that. i feel encouraged to look for more titles like this... I will be buying this book for my teenage niece and my elderly mum this Christmas.
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on 22 June 2016
Brilliant debut work by Isabel Greenberg, using her [2011 Observer Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize] award winning short story, Love in a Very Cold Climate, as a starting point, she weaves together various mythologies to build a World that is intriguingly new yet comfortably familiar. The art, which seems quite simple on the surface (but in reality isn't), is evocative of the kind of depictions you would expect to accompany ancient tales and the minimal colouring compliments it perfectly. The word that keeps coming back to me when describing any aspect of this work is "charming" because that is what it is. I was charmed by this book from the moment I plucked off of the shelf in the book store and still am.
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on 15 March 2014
This went down very well with my 19 yr old daughter and her boyfriend. This particular book had a lot of praise in the press and does have terrific appeal in it's quirky way.
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on 22 November 2013
A beautifully illustrated book, wonderful stories and structure. The author/illustrator has produced a work of art. I bought it having heard an interview with her on a Guardian book feature, It is every bit as lovely as it was billed... Great story and fantasy with a lovely artistic style.
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