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Children's LiteratureHans Christian Andersen was born to poor parents in Denmark in 1805. At age fourteen, a few years after the death of his father, Anderson left his hometown for Copenhagen to be an actor, singer, and dancer. It was his writing, however, that made him famous around the world. His stories captivated readers. In this fine collection of tales, respected literary critic and leading authority on Andersen, Naomi Lewis has selected familiar and some unfamiliar stories to include. "The Princess and the Pea" will be familiar to readers, as will her wonderful telling of "The Nightingale" and "The Little Match Girl," who, freezing to death on New Year's Eve, flies off to heaven with her long-dead grandmother. Other tales are unfamiliar but seem quintessentially Andersen. "Elf Hill," with its magic and humor, involves the wedding of one of the Elf-King's daughters to the Great Troll of Norway. In "Little Ida's Flowers," a girl witnesses tulips dancing in the night. The enchanting illustrations garnered artist Emma Chicheter Clark a nomination for the Kurt Maschler Award for this book, when it was first published as Elf Hill in the United Kingdom. Clark also is the author/illustrator for the "Blue Kangaroo" series. 2005 (orig. 1999), Frances Lincoln Children's Books, Ages 4 to 8.
—Valerie O. Patterson