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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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on October 22, 2002
There were two reasons why I picked up this book: the first being that it was illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, whose art I greatly admire, and the second because "Swan Lake" is one of my favorite ballets. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a real disappointment for me. Those familiar with the ballet know of its unhappy conclusion. However, originally the ballet was written with a happy ending which was preserved in this edition. I am not against happy endings, but the way it was presented was too bare bones---no meat at all. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl quickly forgives boy and they live happily ever after, the end. Both the narration and characters were flat and left me indifferent. Even Zwerger's illustrations lacked a certain something. I would recommend treating a child to Tchaikovsky's music than this work. For those wishing to enjoy Zwerger's superb art, as well as a captivating story should check out "Dwarf Nose", "The Wizard of Oz", "Alice in Wonderland", and if you are able to obtain them in an out-of-print shop, "The Deliverers of Their Country" and "The Nutcracker".
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on January 22, 2003
"Once upon a time, all you needed was the right mix of enough evil and a good spell to transform a person into a tree, a rock, or even an animal. In those days, there lived a prince..." So begins award winning author and illustrator, Lisbeth Zwerger's, captivating retelling of Tchaikovsky's, Swan Lake. Her eloquent prose is filled with imagery and magic, and enhanced by evocative illustrations in soft, dreamy hues. Together word and art dazzle, and bring the beautiful story of love found and lost, to life on the page. Unlike the beloved and familiar ballet, Ms Zwerger gives her adaptation an upbeat, happily-ever-after ending. As she explains in her Author's Note, Tchaikovsky wrote the original fairy tale dance in 1871 as a gift to his sister's children. It retained the "love conquers all" happy ending when he premiered his full length ballet six years later. It wasn't until after his death, sixteen years later, that the story was reworked by his brother and given the now famous tragic ending. Perfect for youngsters 7 and older, Swan Lake is both an engaging, read aloud fairy tale, and a marvelous introduction to the wonders of ballet, that should whet the appetite and send you looking for a recording and performance.
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on April 8, 2003
"With a flash, the lake was bathed in a shimmering light, and before him stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. 'I am the Swan Queen,' she said. `I am the swan that you tried to kill.'" The somber but beautiful drama of Tchaikovsky's brilliant ballet. "Swan Lake," has been transformed into an elegant picture book for children retold and illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, and translated by Marianne Martens. Zwerger - a Hans Chrisitan Andersen Medal-winner for lifetime achievement - is in glorious form here. Her mysterious paintings are filled with emotion, urgency, light and shadow, while her formal, dramatic text is as radiantly ethereal as the Swan Queen herself. Few contemporary princess tales can come close to providing the grace and majesty contained in the breathless passages here. It's a thing of beauty to be cherished. Next to "The Nutcracker," "Swan Lake" is the most popular ballet for young children, so the natural appeal of this book is great, particularly for budding ballerina's in training prone to their own flights of fancy.
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on June 18, 2015
A nice read for my six year old granddaughter. I purchased the book prior to our attending a local performance of Swan Lake. I'm keeping our performance tickets in the book and on the shelf for her keepsakes.
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on September 21, 2005
This is a beatiful book. My children love the illustrations and the story.... and so does mommy.
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on March 6, 2014
This book features a happy ending, which is not how the ballet ends. Even though the artist explains her rationale, changing the ending of a well-known piece of art is jarring. People who are reading the book to prepare their children for the ballet may want to explain the differences in the ending.

The art is interesting, especially as the girls transform to swans. Even in their girl-states, they exhibit swan characteristics. All the women are heavy-bottomed in the art, and it is hard to understand the allure of the sorceror's daughter.

Still, this is a beautiful hardcover book to tie in with the ballet.

I also recommend Chris Van Allsburg's book, which has a more developed story line. Swan Lake Also, for a nice tie-in, try Tchaikovsky Discovers America by Esther Kalman.
Tchaikovsky Discovers America

Enjoy the ballet!
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on January 23, 2013
Beautiful book - nice for understanding the ballet. I really like the ending with the possibility of happily ever after.
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VINE VOICEon January 8, 2004
My husband and I tend to buy books that also show an artistic talent with an older story. This book definitely qualifies. It's beautifully illustrated and wonderfully-written. Swan Lake has always been my favorite story and the illustrations here are just artistic and beautifully-drawn. Our boys love the pictures.
Swan Lake is the classic tale about a prince who isn't responsible till his mother, the queen, decides it's time for him to get married. The prince falls in love with a beautiful woman in white and finds out that she's a princess under an enchanted spell. They fall in love and meet adveristy along the way. And ... ends well.
It's a wonderful story for both boys and girls ~~ especially if you like reading fairy-tales to them!
1-8-04
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on January 4, 2015
Delightful story, lovely illustrations. Good for children and adults.
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