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The Girl of the Wish Garden: A Thumbelina Story
     

The Girl of the Wish Garden: A Thumbelina Story

by Uma Krishnaswami, Nasrin Khosravi (Illustrator)
 

This poetic tale opens when Lina, a tiny girl no bigger than a thumb, is found in a flower by her mother. Because she is so tiny, adventure and mishap easily befall her — a giant frog leaves her stranded on a lily pad, she is freed by curious fish, then pestered by crazy bugs. Lina lives by herself in the depths of a forest and as the cold of winter approaches

Overview

This poetic tale opens when Lina, a tiny girl no bigger than a thumb, is found in a flower by her mother. Because she is so tiny, adventure and mishap easily befall her — a giant frog leaves her stranded on a lily pad, she is freed by curious fish, then pestered by crazy bugs. Lina lives by herself in the depths of a forest and as the cold of winter approaches she begins to feel lonely, until one day Lina finds an injured swallow. She revives the swallow and the two of them fly together to the garden of wishes. Uma Krishnaswami’s text captures the spirit of the luminous illustrations, creating a book that is beautiful, magical, and mysterious.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A Kirkus Best Book

"Text that sings like poetry narrates a gorgeous re-envisioning of 'Thumbelina' . . . a must." — Kirkus, starred review

"Khosravi’s layered acrylic and tissue on paper images are richly colored with golds, reds, and teals. . . . [the] illustration will lure fairy-tale lovers of all ages." — School Library Journal

Praise for Out of the Way! Out of the Way!:
“A lovely, unique contribution.” — Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
The glowing illustrations for this version of Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tale, Tommelise (1835), were painted in 1999 by award-winning Iranian artist Khosravi (a candidate for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal). Inspired by Khosravi's art, Uma Krishnaswami has created her own poetic version of the tale, whose most famous translator (1974) is the Danish author Erik Christian Haugaard. Andersen's stories often reflect elements of folklore, the sentimental piety of the nineteenth century, and the true Romantic's feeling for nature. In his Tommelise, we find toads, streams and water lilies, fish, a white butterfly, maybugs, and, as principal characters, a field mouse, a velvet-coated mole, and a singing swallow. For a finale, the tiny girl meets the king of the flower fairies and becomes a queen herself. Krishnaswami has stripped the tale to its poetic essence, sometimes following the story, sometimes not—the mole suitor has disappeared, a storm horse carries "Lina" away, reducing the role of the swallow; instead of finding happiness with the flower king, the girl rides away to freedom. Khosravi takes off, too, with her own version, as Lina (almost always appearing in brilliant red with a billowing skirt) travels through time and space in a cloud of images—the toad is here, and the fish and maybugs; Lina is taken in by the mouse and nurses the swallow back to health, but her future seems quite different, as she, a mysterious prince, and the magic, soft-eyed horse ride away "leaving only the breath of the living wind." Young listeners and viewers who love this tale might compare it with many other adaptations. Especially lovely is the unabridged translation by Haugaard with delicate, Art Nouveau-like pictures by Arlene Graston (Delacorte, 1996), in which readers get to meet Andersen himself as the storyteller. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This lyrical picture book was inspired by Khosravi's images for an earlier Farsi version of the classic Andersen tale. Writing in a free-verse style, Krishnaswami lets the amorphous, dreamlike illustrations set the tone for the story, which begins in a garden where dreams and time "can shift and change." The thumb-size Lina begins her journey when she is captured by a giant frog and then the story loosely follows the path of the original tale. She is swept along at the mercy of the winds and follows the tunes of the birds, and each new encounter is foreshadowed by her sung cries for help. This version has no marriage proposals and only the hint of a forever after when she disappears on the wind, carried on the back of a horse. Khosravi's layered acrylic and tissue on paper images are richly colored with golds, reds, and teals. Stencil-like organic shapes and delicately lined drawings are incorporated into the paintings; they shift and change then disappear only to reappear on a later page. The abstract nature of the artwork and text will be best appreciated by more mature readers although the cover illustration will lure fairy-tale lovers of all ages.—Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Text that sings like poetry narrates a gorgeous re-envisioning of "Thumbelina." Lina's mother discovers her "in a silken flower / in a garden of wishes." She blesses her new daughter, and she worries, "for many dangers wait upon a girl / no bigger than a thumb." This piece shares Hans Christian Andersen's plot but not its old themes of marriage and Thumbelina's prettiness, powerlessness and self-sacrifice. Instead, with lyrical elegance, Krishnaswami gives Lina agency. When a frog traps her, Lina sings: "Wind-swish, bird-flutter, / fish-bubble and all, / come to me now, / come when I call." Lina shows these fish "how to snip and where to chew, / and soon they cut the leaf free of its stem, / so it floated like a raft." When weeds and bugs mire her leaf-raft, tenacious Lina "kicked and paddled with all her might, / until her lily pad pulled free." Left-hand pages feature text on white background; right-hand pages have exquisite, full-bleed paintings in acrylic and tissue. Using sumptuous colors, luscious paint texture, patterns, smudges and delicate lines, Khosravi places characters in arresting, abstract compositions that recall Marc Chagall. "[B]irdsong and lonely fear" are part of Lina's journey, alongside discovery and strength--and her mother, reappearing in "the map of [Lina's] own life / spread out like a carpet" before Lina's next departure. A must. (author's note, publisher's note) (Picture book. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554983247
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 Years

Meet the Author

Uma Krishnaswami has written many highly acclaimed children’s books, from picture books to middle-grade readers to retellings of classic tales and myths. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger. She lives in Aztec, New Mexico. Nasrin Khosravi (1950–2010) was a world-renowned Iranian artist who illustrated more than thirty-five books for children.

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