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The Snow Queen


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About the Author

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author and poet, most famous for his timeless, classic fairy tales. Naomi Lewis is one of the most distinguished figures in the world of children's books and a leading authority on the works of Hans Christian Andersen, many of whose stories she has translated. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she is a former winner of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for services to children's literature. Christian Birmingham is an acclaimed illustrator whose titles for children include A Kitten Called Moonlight (9781406300987) by Martin Waddell and several titles by Michael Morpurgo, including The Wreck of the Zanzibar, named Whitbread Children's Book of the Year in 1995.


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.)

"Hans Christian Andersen's longest and best story... There is so much in this profound and beautiful tale that it can be endlessly re-read." The Times Educational Supplement"

Gr 2-6-Lewis's adaptation of Andersen's well-known tale is a smoother, somewhat edited version of the one she included in Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Joel Stewart (Candlewick, 2004), and the text is more appealingly arranged on the page. It includes Andersen's introduction to the story, which describes the breaking of the devil's magic mirror, as well as all of the twists and turns of the plot that are a part of Gerda's journey to find Little Kay. Soft pastel illustrations show aerial views of the lovely orange-roofed European city; several exquisitely rendered portraits of the children and of the elegant and beautiful Snow Queen; and impressionist-style scenes that range in size from full-page to smaller vignettes, highlighting and enlivening each of the unusual characters and scenes in the story. The tale's sophistication lies in its well-fleshed-out religious motifs-the purity and innocence of a child's heart that obliges people and animals to serve her; the great power inherent in the utterance of the Lord's Prayer by this child whose faith is pure and strong. A lovely edition to add to any collection.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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