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Thumbelina Hardcover – September 9, 2004


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Thumbelina + The Princess and the Pea + The Ugly Duckling (Caldecott Honor Book)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (September 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803728123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803728127
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

In May of 1989, I traveled to New York City in order to show my illustration portfolio to a handful of picture book editors and art directors. As a wide-eyed soon-to-be Kansas University graduate, experiencing the Big Apple for the first time was quite a thrill. The excitement I felt then was eclipsed a month later when I received word from an editor that he was looking for someone to illustrate a wonderful manuscript, and that I might be just the person for the job! I was now a real illustrator! Well, I had so much fun working on that project that I decided to submit a story of my own. Imagine my elation when LUCKY RUSSELL was accepted for publication. Now I was a real author! Twenty plus books later, the excitement and satisfaction I feel while working on a picture book has not diminished one iota.

I live with my wife and daughter near Kansas City, in Prairie Village, Kansas. I really love spending time in the great outdoors. I have been fortunate to explore the Colorado Rocky Mountains on horseback and on foot, Arizona's canyons, California tide pools, Florida beaches and the lakes and streams in Minnesota and Ontario. Closer to home I get my outdoor fix in the wide-open spaces of the Kansas Flint Hills. I also enjoy visiting schools to talk with kids about illustrating and writing picture books. I hope to see you somewhere along the trail!

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Of the various versions of this old Hans Christian Anderson tale, this rendition by Brad Sneed follows the original pretty closely. I will admit right off that this is not my favorite piece by Anderson, for various reasons, but that should not distract me, or anyone else for this fine bit of work that Anderson has turned out.

As with the original tale, our diminutive young girl begins life inside a flower. Being only about the size of a persons thumb when she is fully grown, opens a world to her that we bigger people can hardly imagine and along with that problems, that while may not be exactly what we might encounter, still reflect some of the dangers faced even today.

As the story unfolds, our little Thumbelina is rather sought after by an array of creatures who want to marry her. First a toad with a manipulative mother, then a rather unattractive greedy beetle and a very pushy mouse wanting to act as a marriage broker for a rather obnoxious mole; all come and go from our little girls life as she more or less is caught up like the feather flitting here and there in the movie, Forrest Gump. Her will really has nothing to do with it and she is rather the victim in each scenario. All through this story there is a rather unsaid dark side and you sort of feel the presence of evil or at least sinister intentions from all sides. I suppose that is the aspect of this story that I find a bit unsettling at times. I hate to add a spoiler here, but things do turn out just fine in the end; at least fine by the standards of the era in which it was written.

Brad Sneed has spruced up the language in this work and picked up the pace somewhat, but as I said, he has been quite true to the original story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jessbcuz VINE VOICE on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My daughter (5 years) loves this book. We actually got it from the library and have been enjoying it for a month and are ready to renew it as she cannot part with it. She loves to hear the story read aloud to her, and the language is well chosen for an oft told tale; but she also delights in the illustrations and really sits and studies them in a way I've only see her do with a few books. The pictures seem to invite her to look longer and to linger, which gets her imagination working! Beautiful!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Mitchell on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My daughter loves this story, and regularly clamors to hear it over and over again. The only downside (for me, not for her) is that it is "long" as far as stories go that you have to read over and over again. That said, it is a great book for 2 - 3 year olds who are beginning to exercise their imaginations. My daughter is constantly looking inside flowers to see if Thumbelina is there, and she loves talking about the toad and the beatles and the mole. Each little animal in "Thumbelina" comes with their own history and story, rich enough for a child to grasp onto and weave into their imagination and pretend play. Definitely a great 3 year old bday gift!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erin on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I agree with another review on here that Thumbelina looks anorexic... I liked the story and the artwork was beautiful. But Thumbelina was a victim in various cases of seemingly dark perverted males seeking after her. She is portrayed as just a beautiful object instead of a person. I was hoping that she would find her way back to her mother in the end or her mother would find her. It would have been nice if Thumbelina could have flown to her mother with her new fairy man or something. Good book, good story just not my taste. I would want my daughter reading more about woman who overcome obstacles and have a will and drive to succeed in situations not landing where ever the wind blows you and being naive and available to abuse. It's good to be respectful but not that passive and naive.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Product description as described, items was in perfect condition and is the perfect addition to any Little Princesses library! Fabulous illustrations.
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By Former culinary student on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This story was a favorite of mine as a child. My parents gave it to my son (almost 3). Unfortunately, it was not what we were looking for, as there are not enough illustrations for the text. My favorite parts of the story don't even have an illustration! Very disappointed.
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