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The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales Hardcover – May 10 1993

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 10 1993
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy; Avenel 1981 ed edition (May 10 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517092913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517092910
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 6.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 930 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #482,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent selection of Andersen's best tales, but it is hardly complete! A fresh new translation organised by themes that is fun to read! It is the Kindle version of the Barnes and Noble Classics paperback, with black and white illustrations by Henry Clarke. However, for the Kindle edition, they have borrowed the cover from another edition that IS "complete" and "fully illustrated". So this is a perfect sampler, ideal for beginners, that fully deserves its 4 star rating!
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been a fan of the original versions of fairy tales, so I picked this book up a few years ago, just to read for myself. A few weeks ago my six year old found it hidden among my millions of other books, and asked me to read it to her. While easy to read silently, it is a bit hard to get into the rythm of the wording at first, but after stumbling through a few paragraphs, it becomes much easier to handle.
Since the discovery of this book, my children have been requesting stories from it almost every night. At first my three year old complained about the lack of pictures (it really isn't "fully illustrated"), but she quickly got over that and enjoys listening to every story. Both of my older children like to compare these stories to ones they've seen on TV, or read in the few modernized fairy tale books we own (given to us by friends and relatives). Maybe my children are warped - which is very likely - but they prefer the original stories, with their not-so-happy, and often times violent, endings.
I've never been one to believe children need to have their reality padded... real life doesn't always end the way we hoped, so neither should stories. Hopefully this book, and ones like it, will be a bedtime favorite for years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
A superb collection of nine favorite H.C.A. stories (see below), wonderously illustrated with something like a hundred hig-quality reproductions, at least half of which are full-page, drawn from the work of twenty of the greatest artists from the "Golden Age" of children's book illustration (around the turn of the century). The art is simply mind-blowingly beautiful.
The tellings themselves are very fine. The language used is both delightful and sophisticated, making this a fine volume to entertain good readers amongst older children, and to expand their language skills. Of course, less able readers and younger children might like the stories just as well if they were read to them. There is no information in the book or on the publishers website regarding the origins of these particular tellings.
A sample paragraph, from "Thumbelina":
"Then they came to the warm lands. The sun was shining much more brightly, the sky was twice as high, and the most wonderful green and black grapes were growing by the roadside and on fences. Lemons and oranges hung in the forests, and there was a scent of myrtle and curled mint, and pretty children were running by the roadside playing with big colorful butterflies. But the swallow flew still further, and everything became even more beautiful. There, beneath magnificent green trees by a blue lake, stood a shining white palace, with vines climbing up it's lofty pillars. At the top were lots of swallows' nests, and the swallow carrying Thumbelina lived in one of them.
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Format: Paperback
The very short 1981 edition currently before me features black and white illustrations by Philip Gough, and was translated by Naomi Lewis.
There's been a trend lately for fantasy authors to take traditional fairy tales and retell them, either as novels (as in Mercedes Lackey's case, or Peggy Kerr's _The Wild Swans_) or short stories (Tanith Lee did this even before Terri Windling came along). Hans Christian Andersen's little gems *aren't* traditional folk tales - he did the work - but quite often serve to fuel such fires anyway.
The translator, Naomi Lewis, has included a brief introduction discussing Andersen's life and career, and a few pages of notes at the end of the book discussing the original publication and origins of each story herein.
"The Princess and the Pea", "Thumbelina", "The Emperor's New Clothes"
"The Little Mermaid" - If you're only familiar with the Disney version, I warn you that they discarded much of what makes this story truly great. When evaluating a translation of this story, a quick test is to check the last scene between the mermaid and her prince to see how well the translator captures the actions and feelings of the characters.
The youngest of the seven mer-princesses has always been more fascinated by her grandmother's tales of the world above than any of her sisters, but she has the longest to wait for her first trip to the surface on her fifteenth birthday. Since mer-folk turn into seafoam at the end of their 300 years of life and have no immortal souls, she is especially curious about her grandmother's tales of how humans, when they die, can rise into a higher world just as the merfolk rise to the ocean surface, but one the merfolk can never reach, save through a human's love.
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