The Emperor's New clothes

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Hans Christian Andersen's classic fable of vanity and pride is given a refreshing twist in this beautiful picture book illustrated by Alison Jay in her award-winning crackle-glaze style.
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Overview

Hans Christian Andersen's classic fable of vanity and pride is given a refreshing twist in this beautiful picture book illustrated by Alison Jay in her award-winning crackle-glaze style.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As the weasels gloat over their success at convincing the emperor to hire them to fashion magical clothes for him, they say of their ruse: 'The story's a good one, woven with care./ And one that was told with a/ great deal of flair!' An apt description of this buoyant collaboration as well." -Publishers Weekly

"Jay's figures, as always have large gently rounded bodies and small heads and limbs, and her pictures are full of beautiful details, elegant small objects, window vistas, and landscapes." -Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sedgwick's (Floodland) jaunty rhymed couplets and Jay's (The Race) signature stylized artwork ably accentuate the wry humor of this Hans Christian Andersen tale. The author emphasizes the breezy cadence of the verse by sprinkling it with exclamation points and presenting some of the words in larger type sizes for emphasis. When the monarch contemplates checking up on the deceitful tailors' progress, for instance, he thinks, "Suppose, when I visit, I can't see a thing./ Then I'd look like a fool/ and I am the King!"; both "fool" and "king" appear in larger font sizes for aid in reading aloud. Jay's pictures, at once classic and edgy, bring into humorous focus this imperial household of cleverly cast animals: the vain emperor is a lion, his scurrying servants (sent to check up on the tailors in the lion's stead) are a hare and a tortoise, and weasels assume the role of the scheming tailors. The elaborate, often intricately patterned courtly garb worn by the characters most importantly the foppish emperor renders the ruler's unclothed persona all the more comical. And her intermittently elongated and foreshortened perspectives emphasize the tale's moral. As the weasels gloat over their success at convincing the emperor to hire them to fashion magical clothes for him, they say of their ruse: "The story's a good one, woven with care./ And one that was told with a/ great deal of flair!" An apt description of this buoyant collaboration as well. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Although he has many fine clothes, the emperor wants something new. None of the things he already has seems quite grand enough to him. The emperor wants something that will guarantee that his many subjects are impressed by him. Quickly, tailors arrive at the palace. They promise an incredible, magical outfit that will enable him to determine the wisdom or foolishness of those who see it. The pleased king overcomes the objections of his treasurer and chamberlain. He arranges for a procession to take place once the suit is complete. Days pass. Finally, the tailors say they are done. They dress the emperor, who is too embarrassed to admit he cannot see the clothes. The parade begins. It is true that his subjects gain a new perspective of their vain leader! Marcus Sedgwick's nimble, rhyming account of this beloved, oft-told tale brings new life to an old story. Alison Jay's distinctive crackle-glaze illustrations give the pages a warm glow. The animals chosen to represent the characters—a magnificent lion as the emperor, sneaky weasels as the tailors, and tortoise and hare as the emperor's counselors—add the visual humor to the familiar tale. 2004, Chronicle, Ages 4 to 8.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of the vain emperor and silent subjects has been recast once again. Here the self-important leader is a lion, his advisors a tortoise and a hare. And the tricky tailors are none other than wily weasels, of course. Distinctive illustrations are reminiscent of medieval art. Broad perspectives and elongated figures appear in crackle-glazed paintings in full but subtle color. Some illustrations fill entire spreads while others clearly focus viewers' eyes by placing an image on white space. The art establishes movement and pace, less predictable but equally as satisfying as the rhyming text. Once a small frog announces the real status of the emperor's attire, the story ends: "After that, the secret was out,/and everyone started to point and shout./Laughter rang out. What a hullabaloo!/For the trick was EXPOSED,/and THE EMPEROR, TOO!" Unfortunately, the exit of the weasel tailors is not addressed; one assumes they are gleeful, however. If a fresh look and sound for an old tale are needed, this one will be useful.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fairly ho-hum rhymed version of the Andersen tale, almost saved by whimsical and sly illustrations by the empress of crackle-glaze and skewed perspective herself. Says the king, who is a lion of course, albeit one who walks upright, "What I need, I do declare, / is a brand new suit of clothes to wear. / Clothes to make my people see / what a fine king they have in me!" When two weasel tailors appear, and announce they can make those clothes and enspell them so that they can only be seen by the wise, even children who don't know the story will see through these rascals. Jay's figures, as always have large gently rounded bodies and small heads and limbs, and her pictures are full of beautiful details, elegant small objects, window vistas, and landscapes. The inherent humor in seeing a tortoise walking upright with the gold key of his office round his neck or a nervous piggy valet culminates in the final panel, where a small frog who tells the truth exposes the undressed lion rampant. He isn't very naked, of course, being a lion, but his favorite royal object, a hand-held mirror (reflective side down) is strategically placed. (Picture book/fairytale. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811845694
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 7/22/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 1 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.87 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Jay studied graphic design at the London College of Printing. After graduating with honors, she concentrated on illustrating children's books. Her distinct, crackle-glaze art style has won her international acclaim.

Marcus Sedgwick has written four novels for children, including Floodland, Witch Hill, The Dark Horse, and The Book of Dead Days.

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