Though today is a holiday of peace and joy, it's also the darkest week of the year. My advice — roll with it by curling up with "D'Aulaires'...

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Though today is a holiday of peace and joy, it’s also the darkest week of the year. My advice — roll with it by curling up with “D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths,” preface by Michael Chabon (New York Review Books Children’s Collection, $24.95, ages 6-up).

This fabulous volume is a reprint of a book first published in 1967. Edgar Parin D’Aulaire and Ingri Mortenson D’Aulaire, better known for “D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths,” collaborated on the wild and wonderful illustrations, companions to the stories of Norse mythology. Monsters, gods, trolls, giants, elves, sprites and gnomes battle it out in the cosmos created when the great Aesir gods Odin, Hoener and Lodur threw the body of the frost giant Ymir into the pit.

In the introduction, Chabon writes: “The world of Norse gods and men and giants, which the d’Aulaires depicted … with such loving and whimsical and brutal delicacy, begins in darkness, and ends in darkness, and is veined like a fire with darkness that forks and branches. It is a world conjured against darkness, in its lee, so to speak; around a fire, in a camp at the edges of a continent-sized forest, under a sky black with snow clouds, with nothing to the north but nothingness and flickering ice.”

Feel the chill.

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Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor