Hans Christian Andersen, Author, Arlene Graston, Illustrator, Erik Christian Haugaard, Translator Doubleday Books for Young Readers $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-385-32251-5
In this spare and lilting unabridged translation of the classic tale, the tiny girl's pleasant life is interrupted when she is stolen in sleep by an ugly matron-toad who seeks a wife for her son. A series of misadventures with goliath-like creatures--whether a cruel may-bug or a compassionate field mouse--leaves the beautiful Thumbelina feeling like a misfit. But her kindness in saving a swallow's life is returned when the bird flies her south to its enchanted garden. Here, Thumbelina finally meets her prince and discovers she is home. Graston, in a stunning debut, uses a light-shifting background of subtly tinted tiles as a backdrop to the range of miniature delights (a walnut-shell bed with rose-petal linens, a butterfly-powered sail on a lily pad) and darker emotions (loneliness and feeling out of place). The artwork varies from the silken and jewel-like (flowers and butterfly wings) to the earthy and somber (the cultured mole's underground home, the ailing swallow's feathered chest). The finale grounds the heady sentiment of the fairy-tale ending: the swallow perches on the venerable storyteller's fingers as it relates the tale to Andersen. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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