cover image Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen. Simon & Schuster, $19.95 (65pp) ISBN 978-0-88708-182-8

Zwerger, who has illustrated several Andersen tales as individual picture books, here presents an oversized storybook collection of eight, ranging from the readily familiar (``The Emperor's New Clothes''; ``The Princess and the Pea'') to others that will be new to many readers (``The Rose Tree Regiment''; ``The Jumpers''). She provides a few full-page pictures, at most, for each--just enough to sketch a character, suggest a scene and offer a jumping-off point for the reader's vision. Her lines are characteristically dainty, her palette strong and true--a combination reminiscent of the color plates that frequently embellished texts of yore. Noted translator Bell's retellings are literal and literary, with a leisurely, somewhat old-fashioned feeling created by long, lyrical sentences and descriptions and frequent exclamations and addresses to the reader; they are a fitting match for Zwerger's elegant style. The opening selection, ``The Sandman,'' is, unfortunately, the longest, most rambling and diffuse, and the most clearly European; but after this somewhat difficult beginning, the collection opens a rich world to the reader willing to invest time and imagination in these classic renditions. Ages 4-up. (Nov.)