The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian, translated by Misha Hoekstra,
illustrations by Lucie Arnoux

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4 stars

I am truly a great fan of Hans Christian Andersen, so I was thrilled to get a chance to review this edition of the wonderful tale ”The Snow Queen”. It’s actually one of my favourite fairy tales by the author, along with The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid and The Snowman. Thanks to the translater Misha Hoekstra & Pushkin Children’s Books for a copy of the work.

I did an internship for a year in Odense (where Hans Christian Andersen was born!), so I promoted the city as “his”, did reviews and articles, so I am indeed a fan. And every time I hear of a new edition of a well-known fairy tale, I’m always ready to read it!

First of all, no matter how many times you read this fairy tale, you will still love and cherish it. I really feel that the translator, Misha Hoekstra, did an excellent job with this edition. The language is beautiful, heartfelt and deep, yet still easy to read and great for reading aloud for children in the evening. It’s easy to love the story when it has so much to offer: friendship, hope, love for fellow beings and often naturalistic things, such as flowers (the roses) are personified and become part of the tale.

”The Snow Queen kissed Kai once more. Then he forgot young Gerda, and Grandmother, and everyone at home. “No more kisses now”, she said. “Otherwise, I’ll kiss you to death”.

This story is specifically very visual and sensuous in its descriptions – it’s as if you can almost feel the cold and frosty landscape where Kai is kept by the snow queen. I don’t know why but it seems as snow is always a great feature for a fairytale. It’s easy for the reader to image everything – the snow, the ice, the cold touching your bones and Kai’s changed mind that is affected by the cold.

”Then it seemed to him that what he knew wasn’t nearly enough, and he looked up into the immense empty sky, and away she flew with him. They flew up high in a black cloud, and the storm whooshed and whistled as if it were singing old ballads.

I don’t want to spoil too much because I think you (yes, YOU dear reader!) should read this wonderful tale and especially this edition. It’s beautifully written and very melodic. It’s obvious that music is near the translator’s heart, because often the sentences almost sound like lyrics, and we can almost feel the tones playing while we keep on reading.
Furthermore, the cover of the book is very pretty and I’m truly impressed by Lucie Arnoux’s talent. The colours and the drawings completely define the mood of the story, and it’s often difficult to catch it spot on, but not in this case.

There are many reasons for why you should read this fairytale. A few of them could be:
1. Your children or friends have been talking (nonstop!) about “Frozen”, ever since it was released and you don’t really know anything about it. Maybe you didn’t even know that this tale inspired the film? Huh?
2. Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales are beautiful and can be read by adults, as well as children. For every age, there is something new to the story, and no one reads a story in the same way.
3. “The Snow Queen” is a fairytale that deals with friendship, trust, love, growing up, fear and an eternal hope – and all these themes are beautiful.

”In the valleys, the roses grow
The child of God we’ll come to know.

And the children held hands, kissed the roses, and gazed into the blessed bright sunshine, speaking to it as if the child of God was really there”.

/Do you want to read more Hans Christian Andersen reviews? (most of them are in Danish, but a translate button should do the trick!)

Andersen, Hans Christian; “De røde sko”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Forskellige læsninger af H.C. Andersen – interview”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Grantræet”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Hvad fatter gør, det er altid det rigtige”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Klokken”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Prinsessen på ærten”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Snedronningen”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Snemanden”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “Svinedrengen”
Andersen, Hans Christian; “The Little Mermaid” (IN ENGLISH)

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