Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THUMBELINA OF TOULABA by Hans Christian Andersen


by Hans Christian Andersen & adapted by Daniel Picouly & translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick & illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59270-069-1
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Born of a miniscule grain of millet and a mother’s wish, tiny, dark-skinned and beautiful Thumbelina is kidnapped by an unpleasant iguana that sees her as a prospective daughter-in-law. Horrified, Thumbelina refuses. Still a baby, she knows only one word, so when other animals scramble for her hand, she says “fish,” and gets a ride from one who brings her downriver. As she grows and meets animals—primarily native to South America, though the setting is never fully defined—she learns to be wary, but when she revives a bird of paradise, he becomes a true friend. Eventually offered the chance to become a spirit of the flowers, Thumbelina departs on dragonfly wings, unsure of and excited by her future. True to the Andersen tale, though more open-ended, Picouly’s retelling captures the mystery and lovely oddness of the original, although the otherwise lyrical story is occasionally disjointed and pedantic. Striking illustrations show the lushness of the forest and river and inventively present the world through Thumbelina’s perspective. A note includes information on animals that appear in the story. (Fairy tale. 6-10)