cover image The Tinderbox

The Tinderbox

Hans Christian Andersen. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50458-7

Andersen's mysterious tale of the common soldier who ends up marrying a princess with the help of three unusual messengers of fate is illustrated with Hutton's beautifully rendered pen-and-watercolor drawings. The soldier kills a witch because she will not tell him the secret of her tinderbox and discovers that when he strikes the box, three dogswith eyes as big as teacups, mill wheels and round towers, respectivelyappear to do his bidding and help him win the princess. While Hutton effectively uses moon-washed shadows throughout the book, the dogs, like Orphan Annie's Sandy, have blank cartoon eyes that detract from the eerie aspects of the story. Although some of the paintings are imaginatively designed, the art does not provide a consistent interpretation of the work. Ages 6-up. (Sept . )