The oft-adapted tale of the tiny girl who has big adventures.
Here is a smoothly paced, lyrical retelling of Andersen’s classic that works equally well as a read-aloud, with its onomatopoeia and jaunty jingles, as it does an independent-reading title for early to middle graders. Those familiar with the story as well as newcomers will be delighted by the small protagonist who conquers fears, overcomes harrowing encounters, stands up for herself, devises clever ideas to extricate herself from trouble, and emerges triumphant. Of course, since this is a fairy tale, Thumbelina, who demonstrates refreshing feistiness here, doesn’t accomplish all this on her own. Depicted with very white skin and vaguely Asian features, Thumbelina receives much help from animals and a fairy king (who, in this version, wants to learn to sew!). Youngsters will appreciate the familiar tropes, including ancillary animal characters with distinct, sometimes-humorous, sometimes-sinister personalities. The retelling is much enhanced by beautiful paintings in a charming, dreamy folkloric style that emphasize Thumbelina’s diminutiveness. A timeless feel is maintained by the repetition of certain decorative motifs, and illustrations rendered in fluorescent pinks add a quirky sprightliness befitting the story and protagonist; lush endpapers add to the charm.
A very pleasant and graceful new version packaged in a small trim size that suits the heroine and young readers/listeners as well. (Fantasy. 5-9)