The Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen


Gerda and Kay are the best of friends. They live across an alley from each other and happily chat, play, and tend their lovely rose garden. The children are happy until tragedy strikes Kay. His eye and heart are pierced with fragments of a mirror, and the loving boy Gerda knew vanishes. The Snow Queen has put him under her spell and taken him to her palace of snow and ice. It is up to Gerda to find him and bring him home to the love that awaits him.

In this timeless storybook, ...

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Gerda and Kay are the best of friends. They live across an alley from each other and happily chat, play, and tend their lovely rose garden. The children are happy until tragedy strikes Kay. His eye and heart are pierced with fragments of a mirror, and the loving boy Gerda knew vanishes. The Snow Queen has put him under her spell and taken him to her palace of snow and ice. It is up to Gerda to find him and bring him home to the love that awaits him.

In this timeless storybook, Ken Setterington has captured the haunting beauty of the classic tale of love’s ability to conquer the coldest, most damaged heart. The book is illustrated with the delicate traditional cut paper art of scherenschnitt, which Hans Christian Andersen himself practiced.

After the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kay, Gerda sets out on a perilous and magical journey to find him.

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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 - 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 - 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 - 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.
Children's Literature
Subtitled "A Fairy Tale in Seven Stories," this book recounts the friendship of Kay and Gerda, who live in adjoining houses bridged by roses planted in window boxes. Kay falls into the clutches of the Snow Queen, and Gerda undergoes many adventures during her quest to win Kay back. This retelling of the tale is briefer than some, in a more compact format, and does not lose any essential elements. The star of the book, however, is the artwork. The illustrators have used the German folkart techniques of scherenschnitte, which are extremely detailed silhouettes cut by hand from black paper. Andersen himself adorned his tales with fantastic paper creations, so the choice of this art form is true to the original spirit of the story. To contrast the Snow Queen's chilly realm with the joyful village Kay has left behind, the silhouettes for those scenes are done in the negative—the background is black with icy white cutouts. The only thing lost with this choice of artwork is the blooming red of the roses. 2000, Tundra Books, $16.95. Ages 4 up. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A new version of a much-loved fairy tale. As is common in translations of Andersen, the Christian references have been deleted, changed, or down played. Some description and plot elements have also been omitted. Although the story line has generally been retained, Andersen's language has been so diluted that it has lost all of its bite and some of its nuances. It is unfortunate that so much of his wit is sacrificed for a slightly lower reading level. Engelbreit's signature watercolors work better as cards and posters than as illustrations. Her characters, especially the children, all have the same pouty faces that register little emotional change and no growth. Homey details and charming touches in her pictures seem out of place in the cold, strange, and often scary places Gerda visits. This popular-culture rendition also ignores the tale's Danish setting and reduces the range of emotions in this story to a cozy sweetness. A much better choice is a Snow Queen translated by Naomi Lewis and illustrated by Angela Barrett (Candlewick, 1993).-Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In seven short chapters, Setterington retells the story of the Snow Queen's abduction of little Kay and his rescue by his loyal friend Gerda. Alternating with full pages of text are pictures done in the traditional art of scherenschnitte, a technique of paper cutting that uses sharp scissors with tiny blades. An author's note provides a bit of history about the art form, which was practiced by Andersen himself. The Hofers have created wonderfully intricate illustrations, which appear the way silhouettes would on the white pages. Though the medium is different, the detail and symmetry of the artwork are reminiscent of Virginia Lee Burton's style. Setterington's language is rich but not easy for children to read, making this more suitable for sharing out loud.-Sally Bates Goodroe, formerly at Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887764974
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,477,773
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Storyteller and librarian Ken Setterington was born in Toronto. He worked with CUSO in Nigeria for two years and now is the Children and Youth Advocate for Toronto Library Services. He was honored by the Association of Canadian Publishers as the Outstanding Public Librarian for the year 2000. The Snow Queen is his first book.

Nelly and Ernst Hofer learned the folk art of scherenschnitt in their native Switzerland. They live on a dairy farm in Perth County, Ontario with their two children. Their first book was Silent Night: The Song from Heaven by Linda Granfield.

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