The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham

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The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale, wonderfully retold by Naomi Lewis, with absolutely divine illustrations from Christian Birmingham. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: December 2010
Publisher: Walker
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406319705

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Kay and Gerda are dear, dear friends. However, Kay gets splinters from the Devil's shattered magic mirror in his eye and heart, changing his personality for the worse. Shortly after, he is whisked away by the Snow Queen. Everyone assumes Kay must have fallen in the river and drowned, but Gerda is sure her friend is still alive, and embarks on a magical quest to bring him home again.

The text is Naomi Lewis' 1981 retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale. It's faithful to the original and of a wonderfully high quality, which is as you'd want it. The settings are expanded, rather than adding additional plot. Its length straddles the boundaries between picture books and chapter books - it's mostly a picture book (with lots of words!) to read with older kids, but with a little effort, there's plenty to stretch younger kids. This interesting mix of possible ages is a significant strength of Naomi Lewis' writing, and goes a long way to eliminating the nagging doubt that you'd be just as happy with the original text.

Christian Birmingham's painted illustrations are utterly gorgeous, capturing all the classic charm of fairytales, snow, beautiful scenery, and incredible adventures. They're the sort of pictures that spring to mind if you imagine a perfect Victorian winter, a beautiful garden, or an ice palace. They tick all the right boxes, and never verge (as would be so easy) towards twee biscuit tin illustrations. They ably support the text, setting the scene wonderfully, without ever drawing you away from the story too much. Whether you just let them wash over you, or pore for ages over each one, you'll be incredibly impressed.

The Snow Queen is a Hans Christian Andersen classic, and rightly so. There's a deep and engaging plot, tantalising adventure, a moral core, and magic and charm by the bucketload. An edition as beautiful as this will find a welcome place on any child's bookshelf. Recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

If you're looking for more Hans Christian Andersen, look no further than the wonderful The Orchard Book Of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales by Martin Waddell and Emma Chichester Clark, which brings freshness and vibrancy to the classics. The Winter Sleepwalker by Joan Aiken has eight fairy tales with a modern twist. Instructions by Neil Gaiman also features a twist on the norm. For individual fairy tales, Snow White by Jane Ray and The Elves and the Shoemaker by Lucy M George and Rachel Swirles are good choices, as is The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Rachel Isadora.

Buy The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Naomi Lewis and Christian Birmingham at Amazon.com.

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