From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Adhering closely to the original story, Sneed has streamlined the prose while keeping the sense and emotion of the tale, including the allusion to Andersen having heard it from a swallow nesting outside his window. The fanciful watercolor illustrations are full of decorative flowers, and the lanky Thumbelina has a contemporary look. The brightly colored, double-page depictions can be easily seen by listeners in storyhours. In the scene in which the fish nibble at the lily-pad stem to set Thumbelina free, the action is shown from an underwater viewpoint and readers see only her dangling legs–a nice touch. Close-up views show the tiny girl in comparison to the toads, swallow, beetle, and mole, giving children a sense of scale and setting. While other depictions of this character–including Brian Pinkney's brown-skinned Thumbelina
(Greenwillow, 2003) and Susan Jeffers's delicate-looking protagonist and romantic backdrops in Amy Ehrlich's retelling (Dial, 1979; o.p.)–have served the tale well, Sneed's adaptation makes a good addition where extra copies are needed.–Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
K-Gr. 2. Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a thumb-size girl forcibly betrothed to a series of forest creatures is strange, vaguely sinister, and perennially fascinating, and Sneed's interpretation reflects all these qualities. His text cleaves closely to the original, tracing Thumbelina's journey from the clutches of a calculating mother toad, a greedy beetle, a demanding mouse, and a mole with marriage on the mind. His dramatic watercolors don't sweep the story's cautionary aspects under the rug; the slightly distorted compositions and striking chiaroscuro effects amplify the threats Thumbelina encounters and deepen the relief when the happy ending arrives. Point out the lighthearted portrait of Andersen on the last page; children will be amused by the emphasis Sneed places on the storyteller's famously large nose. Pair this with Brian Pinkney's recent version [BKL O 1 03], featuring sunnier art and an African American Thumbelina, to discuss the range of interpretations that can spring from a single evocative source. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved