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The Snow Queen


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About the Author

Adrian Mitchell was a much-loved playwright, poet and activist. His work in the theatre spans more than four decades. It includes original plays, many of them based on his heroes including William Blake, Mark Twain and Erik Satie, and adaptations of Spanish Golden Age and Russian classics. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Unicorn Theatre and his plays have been performed across the world.


Gr 1 Up This classic Andersen story has been freely and beautifully translated by Le Gallienne, who also translated his Seven Tales (Harper, 1959; o.p.), among others. This edition is standard book size, and while not presented as a picture book, has 17 single and 6 double-page spreads of full-color paintings. Those of the Snow Queen's horses, sleigh and castle are especially atmospheric; human figure proportions throughout tend to be awkward. While minor changes have been made in the text (e.g., two of the flowers' song-stories are omitted), the translation has an immediacy that will catch children no matter how familiar with the tale. ``Stop that sniveling!,'' the robber girl says here, whereas Haugaard ( Hans Andersen: His Classic Fairy Tales Doubleday, 1978), uses ``I don't like all your tears.'' Again, with equally good, different stylistic emphasis, he renders the description of the menacing snowflakes as ``All of the snowflakes were brilliantly white and terribly alive''; and she, ``All were dazzling white, all were horribly alive.'' A most readable, attractive book. Ruth M. McConnell, San Antonio Public Lib .

Lynch (Melisande; The Steadfast Tin Soldier) brings exquisite grace and elegance to his illustrations of Andersen's classic story of the power of love to heal even the most hardened and icy heart. The design is impressive: delicate black lines frame the four columns on each spread while the art varies not only in placement and size but also in style. A Victorian garland of flowers circling the text of Gerda's prayer is juxtaposed with an Andrew Wyeth-like panel depicting the snow falling on Kay's sleeve, while the wicked goblins and their distorting mirror recall Rackham or even Hogarth. Lynch sometimes departs from the text with intriguing results. For example, the Snow Queen's guards, described by Andersen as ``great ugly porcupines, others like snakes rolled into knots with their heads peering out, and others like little fat bears with bristling hair,'' are pictured as splintered icy dragons or gargoyles under attack from triumphant golden angels in Roman armor. Retold from the original English version by Caroline Peachy, this narrative omits some of the excursions found in the original, but Lynch's Snow Queen remains a dazzling and irresistible enchantress. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)

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