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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lynch (Melisande; The Steadfast Tin Soldier) brings exquisite grace and elegance to his illustrations of Andersen's classic story of the power of love to heal even the most hardened and icy heart. The design is impressive: delicate black lines frame the four columns on each spread while the art varies not only in placement and size but also in style. A Victorian garland of flowers circling the text of Gerda's prayer is juxtaposed with an Andrew Wyeth-like panel depicting the snow falling on Kay's sleeve, while the wicked goblins and their distorting mirror recall Rackham or even Hogarth. Lynch sometimes departs from the text with intriguing results. For example, the Snow Queen's guards, described by Andersen as "great ugly porcupines, others like snakes rolled into knots with their heads peering out, and others like little fat bears with bristling hair," are pictured as splintered icy dragons or gargoyles under attack from triumphant golden angels in Roman armor. Retold from the original English version by Caroline Peachy, this narrative omits some of the excursions found in the original, but Lynch's Snow Queen remains a dazzling and irresistible enchantress. Ages 6-10.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B00005WVSM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Hans Christian Andersen is one of the most famous writers of fairy tales. The Snow Queen is one of the longest tales and one of his best known. He would listen to folk and fairy tales as a child and when he grew up, he wrote some of these stories in his own words.

Anderson began writing The Snow Queen on December 5, 1844 and it was published sixteen days later in book form! His fairy tales made him famous and the stories have been translated into more than 100 languages and some have been made into films, like the Little Mermaid.

Nilesh Mistry is one of my favorite illustrators. He was born in Bombay and moved to London, England in 1975. His books include The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales and Aladdin. I simply want to own every book he illustrates!

In the story of The Snow Queen, you will find illustrations and photography that shows the settings of the original book. This classic is again brought to life, yet never so beautifully as with Nilesh Mistry's art. Kai is whirled away by the icily beautiful Snow Queen. His playmate Gerda sets out to find him and encounters many adventures in his quest. This is a story I remember very well, yet I had to imagine the pictures in my own mind as a child.

In this book, she looks hauntingly similar to how I pictured her as a child. "The driver stood up, in a coat and hat of purest snow. She was a woman, tall and glittering. She was the Snow Queen."

The story begins with a story about the Devil who laughed at his own cleverness. He creates a mirror that sets people against one another by making people see the ugly side of things. If a splinter of glass from the mirror ever entered a person's eye, their heart would become a lump of solid ice. (quite a lesson there to be sure!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Coffman on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Note: The version of The Snow Queen that I am reviewing is from an early 1900's book of Andersen's Fairy Tales that I have - thus, the "original" version.

The Snow Queen, a fairy tale by celebrated children's writer Hans Christian Andersen, is a light, somewhat interesting make-believe story. This work, like most of Andersen's other pieces, brings magical happenings into "real life" and is not set in a mystical land.

The story begins with the account of a wicked goblin who makes a mirror which makes everything pretty look awful. While using this mirror one day he accidentally drops it, and it breaks into many tiny pieces which scatter all over the world. If anyone should get a piece of the glass in his eye, everything would look terrible; and if the shard penetrated to his heart, the organ would soon turn into a lump of ice.

The next thing that we see in the story is a little boy named Kay and a little girl named Gerda playing together in a rose garden. They are best friends, and they both adore each other. However, two of the shards of glass from the goblin's mirror that were floating about in the air get into Kay's eye, and one of them goes straight to his heart, which will now soon turn to a lump of ice. Kay suddenly perceives Gerda, the roses, and other things as looking dreadful. After this he does not like to play with Gerda anymore, and prefers to be by himself.

One day as he is riding his sledge, he meets up with the icy Snow Queen who is riding along in her own sledge. He follows her back to her palace, which is all pure ice. The Snow Queen then gives him a word puzzle to solve, saying that if he could find the word "eternity" that he would be free to leave her palace.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I once read an article in Horn Book Magazine (a review source of titles and articles on children's literature) that lamented the millions of poor translations of Hans Christian Andersen polluting the minds of our young people today. The review mentioned that stories like, "The Snow Queen", which were originally written in a snappy vernacular, have been dumbed down and drained of all energy by their American translators. With this idea fresh in my mind I found myself in possession of a very particular copy of "The Snow Queen" and I was able to test this theory myself. Now due to the wacky nature of, the website has lumped together the reviews of every single version of this Anderson story. You will see that some of the reviews refer to Nilesh Mistry's, some refer to the audio book, some to Eileen Kernaghan's, and some (God help us all) to Mary Engelbreit. None of these, however, are the version that I am reviewing. After careful consideration, I selected the edition retold by Amy Ehrlich and illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The Ehrlich/Jeffers team has banded together to bring us every fairy tale from Thumbelina to Cinderella. With this 1982 classic edition, they bring all the creepy and crawly elements of Andersen's riveting tale to a kind of tame middlebrow life.

Most people don't remember that "The Snow Queen" begins when the devil creates a mirror that reflects everything good as bad. By a quirk of fate the mirror is smashed one day (the details of this accident are left unclear) and the tiny pieces go spinning into the atmosphere. If these splinters enter your eye, everything will look ugly to you. If they enter your heart, it will turn instantly to ice. Got it? Good. Cause sure enough, two small pieces enter the eye and the heart of a boy named Kai.
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