cover image The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

Hans Christian Andersen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $16.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200874-1

Lynch (Melisande; The Steadfast Tin Soldier) brings exquisite grace and elegance to his illustrations of Andersen's classic story of the power of love to heal even the most hardened and icy heart. The design is impressive: delicate black lines frame the four columns on each spread while the art varies not only in placement and size but also in style. A Victorian garland of flowers circling the text of Gerda's prayer is juxtaposed with an Andrew Wyeth-like panel depicting the snow falling on Kay's sleeve, while the wicked goblins and their distorting mirror recall Rackham or even Hogarth. Lynch sometimes departs from the text with intriguing results. For example, the Snow Queen's guards, described by Andersen as ``great ugly porcupines, others like snakes rolled into knots with their heads peering out, and others like little fat bears with bristling hair,'' are pictured as splintered icy dragons or gargoyles under attack from triumphant golden angels in Roman armor. Retold from the original English version by Caroline Peachy, this narrative omits some of the excursions found in the original, but Lynch's Snow Queen remains a dazzling and irresistible enchantress. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)