Children's Literature · Classics · Review · Traditional Fantasy

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

The Snow QueenSynopsis via Goodreads

The Snow Queen is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It is his longest story and is considered by many as his best work. First published in 1844, it has inspired many artists and many times has been retold in movies and animation.

This edition features illustrations by T. Pym (the pseudonym of Clara Creed), a Victorian artist, whose sentimental style blends very well with the Andersen’s tale. Although not widely known, the Pym’s illustrations are among the best ones created for The Snow Queen.

I decided to read this book because I watched Disney’s “Frozen” two weeks ago and read that it was “loosely” based on “The Snow Queen.” True, they aren’t very alike, but I enjoyed both all the same.

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” is about Gerda and Kay. Kay gets a piece of an evil mirror in his eye and heart (not unlike ice) which make him a cold person. Then he is kidnapped by the Snow Queen. This sends Gerda on a journey to bring him home.

My main complaint is that Gerda never confronts the Snow Queen. Their escape from the castle was very lucky. I’m surprised the Queen never chased after them.

A secondary complaint is at the end. I understand how the adventure could have taken a year or three, but I don’t understand how Kay and Gerda became adults with the hearts of children. Maybe it would be better understood in either the original language or in a better translation.

This is an entertaining read for all ages. If you read it because of Disney’s “Frozen,” don’t immediately hate it just because the plots are completely different. That’s why Disney said it was “loosely” based on the story. Both are equally good. I recommend this story and have to agree (without having read Andersen’s other works) that this is his best work.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

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