cover image The Swineherd

The Swineherd

Hans Christian Andersen. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10052-0

It's probably the pinnacle of cheek to revise the works of a master like Andersen, but author/artist Hahn takes the gamble and wins. In her version, ``Hans'' narrates while a motley assortment of players (children, pigs and pets)--captured in sprightly, delicately colored drawings--act out the classic fairy tale. Their often humorous running commentary provides a visual counterpoint to the familiar story of the rejected prince who disguises himself as a swineherd and ultimately dumps a fickle princess. Here, however, the tale's ending causes a commotion, and after tears and a heated debate the characters submit a rewrite--``with all due respect, Hans.'' The final few pages picture a repentant swineherd/prince giving the humbled princess a second chance, vindicating any reader who has ever been unhappy with a book's original ending. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)