This much-abridged recreation of the famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen is smoothly told, following the original structure of seven short chapters, while leaving out numerous details and the Christian elements of the original.
Characters (a wolf) and incidents (a final confrontation between Gerda and the Snow Queen) have been added. Because of the elision and truncation of incidents from the original story, Gerda’s quest is less immediate and heart wrenching, and the motivations of many of the characters she meets are harder to understand. For example, it is not clear that the old woman with the magical garden tries to keep Gerda with her because she has always longed for a daughter, nor is the precarious situation of the outlaw’s daughter, who, in the original, sleeps with a knife at her side, apparent. The sophisticated, surreal and dreamlike illustrations created through mixed media, including manipulated photographs of dolls, flowers and paper constructions, often charmingly spill over onto the pages of text.
The small, novel-like format (5.5 x 8 inches) will most likely appeal to reluctant or recently independent readers, who might be encouraged by this simple retelling to seek fuller versions of the tale. (Fairy tale. 8-10)