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The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

4.1 18
by Hans Christian Andersen

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One of the best loved of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, this retelling of The Snow Queen is both delightful and accessible.

These timeless, classic stories have been gloriously illustrated and made accessible for younger children to read alone, or for all the family to enjoy together. This fresh approach brings the stories and their characters to


One of the best loved of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, this retelling of The Snow Queen is both delightful and accessible.

These timeless, classic stories have been gloriously illustrated and made accessible for younger children to read alone, or for all the family to enjoy together. This fresh approach brings the stories and their characters to life. There are also special pages giving background detail to set the scene of each story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lewis's commanding translation of this Andersen classic rings with nobility even as it maintains a colloquial jauntiness. The famously gripping narrative, of tender-hearted Gerda's epic quest to rescue her friend Kay from the frozen realm of the Snow Queen, is respectfully and insightfully introduced by Lewis. She points out, for example, that, of all of Andersen's major tales, The Snow Queen is ``the most free from ill fortune, sorrow, unkind chance'' and that its protagonists ``make their own luck, good or bad, as they go''; and that it is the ``only great classic fairy tale in which every positive character is a girl or woman . . . while the victim to be rescued is a boy.'' Barrett (see review of Beware Beware , above) contributes gentle watercolor and pencil illustrations, evoking an ageless fairy-tale realm while a frisson of danger lingers beneath her flower-filled images. Pictures of icy wastes--a flurry of blue, white and violet--are especially striking. Inset illustrations and incidental art as well as full- and double-page pictures are interspersed throughout the very substantial text in an agreeable book design that accommodates the youngest members of the target audience. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
For young readers there is an adaptation of a traditional winter favorite with beautiful illustrations. Peachy retells the story of the Snow Queen with the help of award winning illustrator P. J. Lynch.
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Kay and Gerda are best friends and next-door neighbors. When the Snow Queen carries off Kay, Gerda sets out to find him. During her quest, she encounters many wondrous people and places. Throughout her adventure, she maintains her childlike innocence and faith; therein lies her power and strength. The cycle of seasons, repeated in the tale, is emphasized in the watercolor and pencil illustrations.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale is retold in its entirety making this book lengthy but worth every page. It is an old-fashioned storybook with exciting chapters and lots of sumptuous illustrations frosting the pages. The Snow Queen is a stirring account of a young girl's courageous attempts to save her best friend. This rendition of Anderson's tribute to the power of love is beautifully translated, charming to the end.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-A beautifully illustrated translation of Andersen's well-known tale about the power of innocence and love triumphing over evil. The varying moods of Barrett's watercolor-and-pencil scenes perfectly complement the curious story. Softly glowing paintings of the two fair-skinned, sweet-faced children contrast with the stark, dramatic coldness of the Snow Queen's realm and the fantastic, almost eerie atmosphere of the robber band's forest hideout. The story's religious overtones are subtly echoed in the pictures: a cross formed by the topmost branches of an evergreen in Gerda's path; the cloud of angels surrounding the girl; her handful of white lillies at the end. Charming illustrative touches amidst double spreads of two-columned text highlight moments in the story. Both pages of text and full-page pictures are bordered by a fine black line, and the number of each chapter is decorated with a small vignette corresponding to that section of the tale. Surpassing all available translations and adaptations in its pictorial evocation of the story's essence, this version is sure to become the one of choice in most collections.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Hazel Rochman
ger and older for reading aloud. First published 150 years ago, Andersen's long fairy tale is a story for our time, and Lewis' translation captures both the mystery and the immediacy of the telling. Kay is kidnapped and held in thrall by the Snow Queen in her palace, where "the walls were of driven snow, and the doors and windows of cutting wind." His loving friend Gerda undergoes all kinds of trials on a perilous journey to save him. Gerda's love gives her courage and determination, and when she finally gets to the land of monstrous snow and Northern Lights, her warm tears melt the ice in Kay's heart and wash the glass splinter from his eye, so that he can recognize her and be free. There's unusual complexity in this story in which even the flowers are self-centered characters and the images are both magical and ordinary: the Snow Queen promises Kay "the whole world and a new pair of skates." Barrett's dreamy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are gentle for the most part, capturing the turn of the seasons. The pictures become truly scary in the scene in which dreams rush past on the stairs and in the sepia-toned views of the robbers' hideout. As Lewis points out in her introduction, this is a quest story in which all the main characters are women and the victim to be rescued is a boy.
Publishers Weekly
Italian illustrator Baroni’s background in character design brings a fantasy aesthetic to Godeau’s retelling of this Andersen fairy tale. Kay and Gerda are drawn as older children with lean features and blousy peasant clothing; Gerda’s hair often blows dramatically in the wind. Godeau follows Andersen’s original closely, though the translation is graceless in places: “But, the weight of the mirror caused his arms to fiercely shake.” Godeau recounts Kay’s enchantment as he is pierced and frozen by shards of a magic mirror and then captured by the Snow Queen. Gerda’s journey to the North to find Kay is told as a series of episodic encounters with colorful characters: a sorceress, a talking reindeer, and many more. Baroni’s most remarkable creation is the Snow Queen’s black castle, shown on the endpapers; soaring up from two mountain peaks, it features a dizzying aerial bridge and dozens of lit windows. For an older audience, this is a version of the tale that offers a bit of an edge, visually bridging the worlds of classic fairy tales and game culture. Ages 7–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
-- Vogue.com

"These two volumes – reprints of Andersen’s classic fairy tales – are published in new hardcover editions featuring illustrations by Finnish illustrator Annukka. Annukka has designed for Marimekko previously, and incorporates Finnish mythological symbols into her distinctive screenprint illustrations." 
-- Publishers Weekly 

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
An icy blue cover with an art deco Snow Queen sets the tone for this lush retelling of Andersen’s classic tale about a child kidnapped by an icy villain and rescued by a bravely, determined girl. It may be by design that Batoulline’s illustrations of the Snow Queen bear a strong resemblance to Charlize Theron’s role of evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman. Be warned: this retelling is not for the faint of heart. As in any traditional fairy tale, evil prevails. We see this not only in the Snow Queen but also in the revolting troll whose broken mirror shards penetrate Kai’s heart and the sword-wielding robber band that captures Gerda on her journey of adventure to save Kai. However, there is also fabled kindness from a lovely royal couple who embrace Gerda’s mission and clothe her in silk before sending her off in a golden coach. Batoulline’s illustrations are exquisitely rendered and near photographic in their realism and detail. Princess-obsessed little girls will love the picture of the royal couple, Gerda’s patrons, in beautiful garments edged with fur. In another image, the Aurora Borealis does, indeed, shimmer and dance on the page as Gerda wends her way north to the Snow Queen’s palace. One important element of this tale is the presence of a strong female role model in Gerda, a child with determination and courage beyond her age. With Disney’s animated Frozen out now, this similarly themed book should see high demand. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross AGERANGE: Ages 3 to 8.
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Anthea Bell retells the classic story of the snow queen, created by Hans Christian Anderson, as a “Tale in Seven Stories.” Each story focuses on a different piece of the adventures of Gerda and Kay as the broken glass of an evil mirror and the infamous Snow Queen impacts them. In the first story, we are introduced to the mirror created by a devil; it’s destruction lets loose glass shards that perpetuate evil around all who are injured by a shard. The second story introduces us to Gerda and Kay, two children who care for each other deeply but are torn apart when Kay is hurt by a glass shard and is taken by the Snow Queen to live with her in her palace. The third through sixth stories focus on Gerda’s travels as she searches for Kay and the final story shares her triumphant reunion with Kay and their return home. The illustrations throughout are absolutely magnificent in design and execution and support the surreal nature of Gerda and Kay’s experiences. This book would be a beautiful addition to any library and a solid introduction to Hans Christian Andersen’s other tales. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.; Ages 6 to 10.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-08-15
One of the great illustrators of our time takes on one of the knottier Andersen fairy tales, producing a gorgeous and winning result. MacDonald's retelling hews closely to Andersen's original in all its complexity but without its Christian allusions. It begins with a prologue: A wicked troll creates a mirror in which everything good looks hideous, and everything evil looks entrancing. The mirror breaks into millions of tiny pieces and pollutes the world. In winter, when Gerda's grandmother tells the story of the Snow Queen to Gerda and her friend Kai, the window flies open, and Kai is pierced by a tiny shard of the troll mirror. He insults Gerda, dashes outside and is whisked away on his sled by the Snow Queen herself. Gerda does not believe he is dead and searches through many adventures and adversities to find and rescue him. Ibatoulline's paintings are a wonder of form and color. On one spread, the icy queen wraps Kai completely in her blue and gray fur blanket; on the next, Gerda takes a boat on a sunlit river in a golden spring to find him. There are princesses and robbers, mysterious crows and talking reindeer. Ibatoulline renders the northern lights more exquisitely than any photograph. A deep subtext of love and loss, childhood and awakening, power and trust resonate through these pages at least as strongly as the magnificent images. (Picture book/fairy tale. 7-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Creative's Collection of Fairy Tales

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Which Treats of a Mirror and of the Splinters

Now then, let us begin. When we are at the end of the story, we shall know more than we know now: but to begin.

Once upon a time there was a wicked sprite, indeed he was the most mischievous of all sprites.

One day he was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with the power of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked ugly was shown magnified and increased in ugliness.

In this mirror the most beautiful landscapes looked like boiled spinach, and the best persons were turned into frights, or appeared to stand on their heads; their faces were so distorted that they were not to be recognized; and if anyone had a mole, you might be sure that it would be magnified and spread over both nose and mouth.

"That's glorious fun!" said the sprite. If a good thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin was seen in the mirror, and the sprite laughed heartily at his clever discovery. All the little sprites who went to his school--for he kept a sprite school--told each other that a miracle had happened; and that now only, as they thought, it would be possible to see how the world really looked. They ran about with the mirror; and at last there was not a land or a person who was not represented distorted in the mirror.

So then they thought they would fly up to the sky, and have a joke there.

The higher they flew with the mirror, the more terribly it grinned: they could hardly hold it fast. Higher and higher still they flew, nearer and nearer to the stars, when suddenly the mirror shook soterribly with grinning, that it flew out of their hands and fell to the earth, where it was dashed in a hundred million and more pieces. And now it worked much more evil than before; for some of these pieces were hardly so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about in the wide world, and when they got into people's eyes, there they stayed; and then people saw everything perverted, or only had an eye for that which was evil.

This happened because the very smallest bit had the same power which the whole mirror had possessed. Some persons even got a splinter in their heart, an then it made one shudder, for their heart became like a lump of ice.

Some of the broken pieces were so large that they were used for windowpanes, through which one could not see one's friends.

Other pieces were put in spectacles; and that was a sad affair when people put on their glasses to see well and rightly. Then the wicked sprite laughed till he almost choked, for all this tickled his fancy. The fine splinters still flew about in the air: and now we shall hear what happened next.

Meet the Author

Hans Christian Andersen; often referred to in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen; (2 April 1805 - 4 August 1875) was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories, called eventyr in Danish, express themes that transcend age and nationality.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
April 2, 1805
Date of Death:
August 4, 1875
Place of Birth:
Odense, Denmark
Place of Death:
Copenhagen, Denmark

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Snow Queen 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That was such a sweet story. I recomend this for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very good, although it didn't remind me very much of the movie. The story was about a girl name Gerda and a boy named Kay, so it didn't tie with the movie being mainly about the two sisters 'Ana and Elsa'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie on Hallmark and it was fabulous. And now I've read the book and it was even more fabulous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really cute story. Poor girl her foster-brother gets crazed in the head but do not i repeat DO NOT watch the movie until you have read the true story because they are very different
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was Totaly wicked, although I read it 1 million times I can't take my eyes of this book.I loved the part where little Gerda talked to the crow! But the worst bit is when Kay gets taken away by the Snow Queen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book so i really do not know but i hope it will be a good book !! I was shopinng on my nook and the book really caught my attention so that is why i hope that it will be great so have a nice day and thank you for reading my review#thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont like that there is only pictures."I want words,I want words complained myself.I didnt care for this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The one who posted on april 4 2003 posted that on the day after i was born
Anonymous More than 1 year ago