Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Illustrated by Sanna Annukka - Book Review

From the publisher: Hans Christian Andersen's magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is elevated from a children's book to a unique work of art. It is an ideal gift for people of all ages.

When I decided to review Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, I was completely unfamiliar with the story. I thought I remembered hearing that Disney’s Frozen, which my kids loved, was based on it, so I wanted to check out the source material to see if they would enjoy it. What I discovered is that very little of The Snow Queen made it in to Frozen. Andersen’s tale is an adventure in its own right, but not really anything like Frozen.

The Snow Queen begins with the story of a devil and a mirror that shows a distorted version of what it reflects; namely, it brings out the worst in what it shows. An accident causes the mirror to shatter and the pieces to fall to Earth. These tiny shards were lodged in the hearts and eyes of many people, causing them to see the worst in people and to have cold hearts towards their fellow man.

We then meet Kay and Gerda, two young children who are the best of friends. When Kay is “infected” by mirror shards, he decides he would like to tell off the Snow Queen about winter. When he disappears, Gerda goes on a quest to find him. Along the way, she encounters many people and animals who seek to help and/or hinder her.

The Snow Queen is very much a hero’s journey type of story. Gerda endures many trials during her quest to find Kay. However, it isn’t particularly exciting. Rather than action, things just kind of happen to and for her.

This particular edition is highlighted by its cloth-bound cover and new illustrations by Sanna Annukka. They are pretty illustrations, and unique in their composition. This edition of The Snow Queen appears to have been created for collectors or as a gift book, as it has an unusual size, as well.

Overall, I would recommend The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen to readers who enjoy his many stories. This is an attractive looking book and the story is okay. I don’t think it would appeal to my own kids, but I’m sure it will find its audience.

I received a preview copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

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