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HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN FAIRY TALES by Hans Christian Andersen

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN FAIRY TALES

By Hans Christian Andersen (Author) , Anthea Bell (Translator) , Lisbeth Zwerger (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1992
ISBN: 0-88708-182-7

 An Andersen medalist whose distinguished work includes picture-book editions of individual Andersen tales (Thumbeline, 1985) selects eight stories for a collection intended to ``echo that grand tradition where the literature itself takes center stage, and the master illustrator presents only a picture or two to light up the reader's imagination.'' By and large, this elegantly tall (13ยด'') volume achieves that aim. The ample size provides a generous white space to accommodate Zwerger's beautifully composed art; exquisitely poised figures perfectly capture Andersen's gentle humor and whimsically satirical tone, while the artist's choices of subjects allow telling glimpses into each story's heart. The selection of tales is also creative: four unusual entries--brief vignettes concerning ``The Naughty Boy'' (Cupid), ``The Rose Tree Regiment'' (``leaf lice,'' or aphids, recount their curious life cycle), and ``The Jumpers'' (also insects, who vie for a princess's hand), plus ``The Sandman,'' a childlike dream for each day of the week, concluded by Sunday's quietly philosophical view of death--make an enriching counterpoint to four familiar tales including ``The Little Match Girl.'' Bell's new translations are grand--the language is beautifully honed, vigorous but unobtrusive, with Andersen's wry humor intact. Unfortunately, the pictureless spreads are awkwardly designed, with very long lines of type and an excess of boring white space. Otherwise, a handsome, intelligently planned volume with lovely illustrations. (Fiction. 6+)