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THUMBELINA by Hans Christian Andersen


by Hans Christian Andersen & illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-688-17476-0
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Minor details and most of Andersen’s literary flourishes have been cut out of this shortened version, but the essential plot is intact. Grown from a magic seed, Thumbelina is repeatedly kidnapped for her beauty, escapes two forced-marriage attempts with the help of animal friends, and finally consents to wed the king of the flower people, because “he was the right husband for her.” Pinkney places his tall (about three inches—or triple her size in the original), graceful, cinnamon-skinned figure within close-up natural landscapes, vibrantly depicted in warm browns and golds with short, thick, curving brushstrokes. Though Thumbelina is not the most active or independent-minded of role models, she does have plenty of adventures, and the sense of self-possession that she radiates in every scene is never shaken by events. And even though her eye makeup looks like it was laid on with a trowel, the preciousness that tends to infect other renditions of the tale is less evident in this readable adaptation. (Picture book/fairy tale. 8-10)