cover image The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

Natacha Godeau, trans. from the French by Susan Allen-Maurin, illus. by Giorgio Baroni. Auzou (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (48p) ISBN 978-2-7338-2530-3

Italian illustrator Baroni’s background in character design brings a fantasy aesthetic to Godeau’s retelling of this Andersen fairy tale. Kay and Gerda are drawn as older children with lean features and blousy peasant clothing; Gerda’s hair often blows dramatically in the wind. Godeau follows Andersen’s original closely, though the translation is graceless in places: “But, the weight of the mirror caused his arms to fiercely shake.” Godeau recounts Kay’s enchantment as he is pierced and frozen by shards of a magic mirror and then captured by the Snow Queen. Gerda’s journey to the North to find Kay is told as a series of episodic encounters with colorful characters: a sorceress, a talking reindeer, and many more. Baroni’s most remarkable creation is the Snow Queen’s black castle, shown on the endpapers; soaring up from two mountain peaks, it features a dizzying aerial bridge and dozens of lit windows. For an older audience, this is a version of the tale that offers a bit of an edge, visually bridging the worlds of classic fairy tales and game culture. Ages 7–up. (Nov.)