Steadfast Tin Soldier


A retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story, with new illustrations.The story of a one-legged tin soldier who loves a paper ballerina from afar is "beautifully set in a wintry [Copenhagen] of a hundred years ago. A handsomely designed book that respects the integrity of a favorite tale while giving it a fresh new interpretation." ?K. "A terrific story, well told and beautifully illustrated." ?BL. "The art illuminates the story in ways to which the simple language cannot ...
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The Steadfast Tin Soldier

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A retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story, with new illustrations.The story of a one-legged tin soldier who loves a paper ballerina from afar is "beautifully set in a wintry [Copenhagen] of a hundred years ago. A handsomely designed book that respects the integrity of a favorite tale while giving it a fresh new interpretation." —K. "A terrific story, well told and beautifully illustrated." —BL. "The art illuminates the story in ways to which the simple language cannot aspire." —NYT.

1992 Books for Youth Editors' Choices (BL)

The perilous adventure of a toy soldier who loves a paper dancing girl culminates in tragedy for both of them.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Marcellino beautifully illustrates this tale of the brave tin soldier who falls in love with a paper ballerina. The soldier survives an incredible adventure only to be tossed in to the fire when he returns home. As he began to melt, the paper ballerina who he loves so desperately flies across room and joins him in the blaze. All that remained was a lump of tin in the shape of a heart and a burned spangle from the ballerina. The book was selected as one of the Ten Best Picture Books of the Year by the New York Times and one of the best by Booklist. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Either the hegemony of the Disney house, or the reluctance of an artist to sign rough drafts, has prevented any individual from being identified or credited for the ``illustrations from the Disney Archives'' used here. Instead of finished stills, the pictures are for the most part crude chalk sketches. The unattractive dancer recalls a Barbie prototype, and the flat-faced soldier is characterless. The pictures seem to have been composed for a storyboard, not a book. The text has been significantly altered, with small items added to fit the Disneyfied story: cliche (``. . . light at the end of the tunnel''), the imp made responsible for the soldier's misadventures, and a quite un-Andersenian ``Little Engine'' optimism (``I think it's getting easier each time I try . . .''). Several other editions are in print: try Samantha Easton's small-format version, illustrated by Michael Montgomery (Andrews & McMeel, 1991). --Patricia Dooley, Univ . of Washington, Seattle
Carolyn Phelan
In a young boy's room, a one-legged tin soldier stares lovingly at the ballerina doll, who also balances on one leg. When the boy carelessly places him on the windowsill, the little soldier falls to the street below and begins a journey that takes him to strange and dangerous places, and then brings him back home. There, in the flames of the stove, the tin soldier is finally united with his ballerina. This picture-book version of the classic fairy tale distills Andersen's original down to the essential narrative without fundamentally changing the nature of the story. The illustrations, varied in perspective and well composed for dramatic effect, tell the tale through a series of colorful double-page spreads that feature impressionistic views of nineteenth-century scenes. The simplified text makes this beautiful book suitable for a somewhat younger audience than the equally fine Seidler/Marcellino and Lewis/Lynch editions, both published in 1992.
From Barnes & Noble
From the story told by Hans Christian Andersen, this is the tale of a little boy's intrepid one-legged tin soldier and the unimaginable adventures he encounters when he happens to fall out a window -- and falls in love with a beautiful dancer. Wonderfully illustrated in full color. 8 3/4" x 12".
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684125077
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1953
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Christian Andersen
Susan Blackaby started writing in Mrs. Nichols' third grade class at Green Gables. She didn't think of becoming a writer until she had tried a few other things, including goat milking and weaving.

Over the past 20 years, Susan has written textbooks, workbooks, and readers by the dozen for kids in elementary school. In 2002, her first trade book, Rembrandt's Hat, was named one of the top ten picture books of the year by the Washington Post.

Susan lives in Portland, Oregon, with two people, two labs, and the nicest kitty in the world.


Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark, to a poor family. He left home as a 14-year-old to seek his fortune at the theatre in Copenhagen. Andersen began writing plays and poetry before he left for Copenhagen, but it was not until 1835 that he published the first of the fairytales that would bring him international renown. Since then, his over 200 fairytales have enjoyed undiminished popularity, providing the basis for favorite American interpretations such as Disney's The Little Mermaid.

Biography courtesy of HarperCollins

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

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003


    If you aren't ready to give your child un necessary concern's beware. The story is sweet but sad. The illustration is wonderful, The story is great, unfortunately my son wasn't ready. Great for children 8 and above.

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