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Fairy Tales

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Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are like exquisite jewels, drawing from us gasps of recognition and delight. Writing in the midst of a Europe-wide rebirth of national literature, Anderson broke new ground with his fairy tales in two important ways. First, he composed them in the vernacular, mimicking the language he used in telling them to children aloud. Second, he Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are like exquisite jewels, drawing from us gasps of recognition and delight. Writing in the midst of a Europe-wide rebirth of national literature, Anderson broke new ground with his fairy tales in two important ways. First, he composed them in the vernacular, mimicking the language he used in telling them to children aloud. Second, he set his tales in his own land and time, giving rise to his loving descriptions of the Danish countryside. In contrast to such folklorists as the Brothers Grimm, Anderson’s tales are grounded in the real and often focus on the significance of small or overlooked things. Tinderbox -- Little Claus and big Claus -- Princess on the pea -- Thumbelina -- Traveling companion -- Little mermaid -- Emperor's new clothes -- Steadfast tin soldier -- Wild swans -- Flying trunk -- Nightingale -- Sweethearts -- Ugly duckling -- Fir tree -- Snow queen -- Red shoes -- Shepherdess and the chimney sweep -- Shadow -- Old house -- Little match girl -- Story of a mother -- Collar -- Bell -- Marsh King's daughter -- Wind tells of Valdemar Daae and his daughters -- Snowman -- Ice maiden -- Wood nymph -- Most incredible thing -- Auntie toothache.


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Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are like exquisite jewels, drawing from us gasps of recognition and delight. Writing in the midst of a Europe-wide rebirth of national literature, Anderson broke new ground with his fairy tales in two important ways. First, he composed them in the vernacular, mimicking the language he used in telling them to children aloud. Second, he Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are like exquisite jewels, drawing from us gasps of recognition and delight. Writing in the midst of a Europe-wide rebirth of national literature, Anderson broke new ground with his fairy tales in two important ways. First, he composed them in the vernacular, mimicking the language he used in telling them to children aloud. Second, he set his tales in his own land and time, giving rise to his loving descriptions of the Danish countryside. In contrast to such folklorists as the Brothers Grimm, Anderson’s tales are grounded in the real and often focus on the significance of small or overlooked things. Tinderbox -- Little Claus and big Claus -- Princess on the pea -- Thumbelina -- Traveling companion -- Little mermaid -- Emperor's new clothes -- Steadfast tin soldier -- Wild swans -- Flying trunk -- Nightingale -- Sweethearts -- Ugly duckling -- Fir tree -- Snow queen -- Red shoes -- Shepherdess and the chimney sweep -- Shadow -- Old house -- Little match girl -- Story of a mother -- Collar -- Bell -- Marsh King's daughter -- Wind tells of Valdemar Daae and his daughters -- Snowman -- Ice maiden -- Wood nymph -- Most incredible thing -- Auntie toothache.

30 review for Fairy Tales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    A beautiful collection of some of the greatest fairy tales in history. I enjoy Andersen more than Grimm or Aesop's fables. They seem to have more of a magical quality to them. A beautiful collection of some of the greatest fairy tales in history. I enjoy Andersen more than Grimm or Aesop's fables. They seem to have more of a magical quality to them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Hans Christian Andersen once said, "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale." And his life certainly was an extraordinary rags to riches story. In all Hans Christian Andersen wrote 156 fairy tales, of which forty are in this luxury, large format edition, to represent the cream of the crop. It is a beautiful, sumptuous book, the semi-matt purple cover slightly textured and embossed, giving almost a "padded" feel. It has a feature reminiscent of medallions in old books; in this case an inset Hans Christian Andersen once said, "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale." And his life certainly was an extraordinary rags to riches story. In all Hans Christian Andersen wrote 156 fairy tales, of which forty are in this luxury, large format edition, to represent the cream of the crop. It is a beautiful, sumptuous book, the semi-matt purple cover slightly textured and embossed, giving almost a "padded" feel. It has a feature reminiscent of medallions in old books; in this case an inset glossy illustration of a mermaid. The paper throughout is glossy, and most pages are bordered with patterns and old gold surrounds. Three gold colours are used; the spine is a slightly brighter gold, and the page edges are shiny and gilt-edged, plus there is a gold ribbon bookmark attached. There is an interesting introduction by the translator, Neil Philip, plus copious, carefully drawn illustrations by Isabelle Brent. These are mostly in gouache, and the illustrator makes much use of jewel colours, patterning and many magnificent gold highlights. It is a book which simply begs to be picked up. The choice of purple and gold is perhaps significant, since it is clear that Hans Christian Andersen believed himself to be a member of the royal family. Not only that, but he tortured himself with the belief that he was unacknowledged royalty, who had been cast out, and this conviction plagued him all his life. Interestingly, although there will probably never be any proof of Hans Christian Andersen's true birth, it is not simply an idle dream, but a genuine possibility. Hans Christian Andersen may have been the illegitimate son of Crown Prince Christian Frederik, later Christian VIII, and the teenage countess Elise Ahlefeldt-Laurvig. He was born in 1805 at Broholm Castle near Odense. Both Hans Christian Andersen's official parents worked at the castle, his "mother" as a nursemaid, and his "father", a cobbler for the family. There had also been a precedent for an illegitimate daughter (Fanny) to have been adopted by another servant of the Royal family a year earlier. Hans Christian Andersen seems to have had a privileged position with this family. Rather than play with the other poor children, he was allowed to play with Prince Christian Frederik's son, Prince Fritz, who was three years younger than him. When this prince later died, Hans Christian Andersen was the only person, not in the family, who was allowed to view the body privately. When he was seven years of age, Hans Christian Andersen's official father was paid to serve in the Napoleonic wars, in place of a local landowner. He returned four years later, a broken man, and died in the Spring. Hans's mother was now destitute, with few choices as she was illiterate, so she took in washing, standing waist deep for hours in the icy river, trying to stay warm by taking nips of schnapps. Two years later she married another shoemaker, who took no interest in the young Hans. Hence Hans Christian Andersen grew up in heartbreaking poverty, and all his life remained self-conscious about his lower class background, despite his success. Perhaps it is because he was born poor that he was obsessed with social class, and always trying to claw his way to the top. He seemed to both worship the nobility but also resent them for holding him at arm's length. He was of course dependent on the patronage of the wealthy to create his art. Whatever the cause, Hans Christian Andersen's stories portray everyone from invented royalty, to the truly destitute. He believed, "Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers." Hans Christian Andersen was awkward and earnest; gawky, ill-at-ease, and always feeling he was picked on by all and sundry. Many of his protagonists are obvious depictions of himself; caring a lot what other people thought of them and worried about fitting in. "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling" are clear examples. Yet even battling all his worries, Hans Christian Andersen managed to find his voice and write his stories. In many of his stories he seems to explore ideas about wealth, self-worth, and the meaning of life. Many other aspects of the author's life feed into his stories, which were quite an eye-opener to read. If you think that he wrote "nice" stories for children, then perhaps think again. Some of them are very dark in tone, and most are quite depressing. He has been called a "poet of human suffering". Story after story ends in rejection, humiliation or disappointment. Many of the stories feature a downtrodden protagonist. Sometimes the main character will work hard, and then have a wonderful "fairytale" ending. Perhaps they are lucky, becoming rich, or famous, or falling in love, or a combination of these. Sometimes our downtrodden protagonist works hard, and is just about to achieve fulfilment in one of these ways ... but then suddenly dies for no particular reason. Sometimes there is no change at all, and the downtrodden protagonist remains downtrodden. (And then probably dies.) The downtrodden protagonist is not always "he". Sometimes it is a "she". Or equally often it may be a household object, or a flower, a tree, or an animal. Hans Christian Andersen's stories are fantasies, like dreams or visions. The object or creature will have a personality of its own, often showing a boastful or arrogant side; it will talk to other creatures or objects ... and then die. Sometimes the story does not even seem to be a moral fable; perhaps the object does not seem to have a bad side (but it will probably die nonetheless). His stories often feature children—usually a perfect vision of children who are like miniature adults doing various good things. Sometimes they die too. Sometimes the protagonists do not themselves die, but lose a loved one, and must accept that God is in charge of everything—even when they do not understand the reason. And in this way, through every single story, there seems to be a common thread. Hans Christian Andersen's tales are full of ideas about God, angels, faith, the Bible, the afterlife, and sin. He constantly reflects on what it takes to get into heaven, the various wicked things people do, and the nature of God, love, and forgiveness. Considering that the author himself said the stories were for children, it seems remarkable that they are so preoccupied with the darker side of being human. People sin, he says, and darkness often lives in our hearts and souls. He clearly thinks that all humans are sinners and should live in fear of God, but he also keeps reinforcing the redemptive power of love and faith. Many of Hans Christian Andersen's stories end up with the characters in heaven. Although not exactly a Catholic, his views and expressed beliefs certainly inclined that way. Hans Christian Andersen did not start out by writing fairy tales, although that is what we remember him for. Even as a child he had artistic leanings, becoming swept up by the "Tales from the Arabian Nights" which his father told him, and the toy theatre his father had made. The young Hans played with this, and made clothes for his dolls, dreaming of becoming an actor, a singer or a dancer. After his father died he left home to seek his fortune in Copenhagen, committed to an artistic life. He attached himself to various well-to-do families, successfully courted the attention of wealthy and influential people, one after another, and even had his fees at the Ballet School of the Royal Theatre paid. However this attendance was a short-lived experience. His teachers there crushed him by saying that he "lacked both the appearance and the talent necessary for the stage." Hans Christian Andersen was incredibly sensitive to slights all his life. Every cruel remark, or casual, careless comment would be taken to heart and never forgotten. So his wealthy patrons transferred their money to educating him at a private school for gentlemen. But he found this experience a torment too, saying, "it will destroy my soul". It led to him writing a sentimental, maudlin poem called "The Dying Child". But with a stroke of luck, the poem was published in the newspaper "The Copenhagen Post" in 1827, and the young man's future was assured. Hans Christian Andersen's first writing projects included a play, a book of poetry and a travelogue. The promising young author then won a grant from the king, and this enabled him to travel across Europe and work on being an author. He wrote a novel about his time in Italy, which was published in 1835, the same year as he began writing his stories—called "eventyr", or "fairy tales"—and often based on ideas from folk tales that he had heard or read as a child. Another of his preoccupations was to try out new places. He had a wanderlust, and an urge to flee from what he considered to be provincial life. There are echoes of this in his works. In "Five Peas in the Same Pod" all the peas are happy until one needs to explore the world outside. In "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep", the couple brave all kinds of adventures, in search of something better. There are many instances of someone "trying out their wings". Hans Christian Andersen himself travelled relentlessly, but had a morbid fear of death. Wherever he laid his head, there next to him was a coil of rope which he took everywhere with him, and a handwritten notice, saying, "I only seem dead". He was obsessed with the thought that he might lapse into a coma, and be buried before he could come round. In fact he kept this strange morbid dread of being buried alive through to the very day he died. Over the next few decades, until his death in 1875, he continued to write for both children and adults. He wrote several autobiographies, and also travel narratives and poetry about the Scandinavian people. In 1845, English translations of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales and stories began to gain the attention of foreign audiences. He became a friend of Charles Dickens, who was already enormously popular, although this friendship ended in failure after Hans Christian Andersen had overstayed his welcome at the great author's home. Charles Dickens rather spitefully put up a notice on the wall of his bedroom, after Hans Christian Andersen had left. It read, "Hans Christian Andersen slept in this room for five weeks—which seemed to the family AGES!" It was in England that Hans Christian Andersen's stories first became classics, despite originally being written in Danish. They had a strong influence on subsequent British children's authors, including George MacDonald, Oscar Wilde, A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter. Over time, Scandinavian audiences then discovered his stories, and now of course they are known world-wide. Hans Christian Andersen's tales seem to have universal appeal, no matter what language they are read in. His stories express themes that transcend age and nationality—often presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity. They are written in a very chatty intimate style, which won him no favours from his original literary critics, who considered this tone inappropriate. But once he found his voice, he found he could not stop writing them, saying, "They forced themselves from me". A friend once expostulated, "You're capable of writing about anything - even a darning needle!" And sure enough, the author rose to the challenge, in his story entitled "The Darning Needle". The stories are clearly cathartic, but also full of beauty, tragedy, nature, religion, artfulness, deception, betrayal, love, death, judgement and penance. And—very occasionally—one has a happy ending. The author called his autobiography "The Fairy Tale of my Life", and indeed his life reads like a traditional fairy tale. Think what the blurb might be: "The son of an illiterate washerwoman and a poor cobbler, who may secretly be a royal prince, who, through sheer persistence and influential help from an unlikely source, becomes a world-famous author, in a privileged position, hobnobbing with royalty" perhaps? Ironically, at the age of fourteen, when he left home, he had predicted this outcome, "First you go through terrible suffering and then you become famous." Charles Perrault had collected fairy tales from many cultural traditions in 1697, and just over a century later in 1808 Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected German folk and fairy tales. Later still, Hans Christian Andersen's first fairy tales followed this template of rewriting a traditional story, but in fact only eight out of a total of 156 are direct retellings of Danish folk tales. He quickly moved on to writing his own—and you can certainly tell. Every single one seems to be about an aspect of himself, and he freely admitted, "I was always the chief person", the gawky ugly duckling who didn't quite fit in. His friend H.C. Orsted had said to him, "[Your novel] will make you famous, but the fairy tales will make you immortal". I have rarely felt such ambivalence towards an author. These fairy stories are probably by the only author for whom my personal rating of works varies between one and five stars. He is an extraordinary writer, but I cannot say that I have enjoyed very many of his tales; many of them I have had to steel myself to read. It will certainly be a while before I read another big book of fairy stories, after ploughing through two collections of "Tales from the Arabian Nights" and now this one. The stories vary in standard and taste so much, that I have given this volume my default rating of three stars. And because of this, I have felt it necessary to review nearly all—(in fact thirty-five)—of the stories in this collection separately, whenever they have been published as individual books. Please see my shelves for links, if you wish to read my review of a particular story. The 40 stories in this volume are: The Princess and the Pea Thumbelina The Swineherd The Buckwheat The Wild Swans The Darning Needle The Nightingale The Teapot The Ugly Duckling The Snow Queen The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree The Shadow It's Perfectly True Grief Father's Always Right The Snowman The Snail and the Rose Tree "Something' The Fir Tree The Tinderbox Little Ida's Flowers The Little Mermaid The Emperor's New Clothes The Steadfast Tin Soldier The Flying Trunk The Sweethearts "She Was No Good' The Bell The Little Match Girl The Collar The Goblin at the Grocer's In a Thousand Years' Time Five Peas from the Same Pod The Beetle The Toad Dance, Dance, Dolly Mine! The Flax The Gardener and his Master The Book of Fairy Tales

  3. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    My parents didn’t read “bedtime stories” to me when I went to bed as a child. When it was time to go to bed, it was time to “go to bed”, period! So with that in mind, many of these tales, in this short book (192 pages), were new to me. As an adult I only read three tales out of the twelve, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea, the other tales in the book were all new to me. The others were somewhat entertaining and probably, my younger self would have enjoye My parents didn’t read “bedtime stories” to me when I went to bed as a child. When it was time to go to bed, it was time to “go to bed”, period! So with that in mind, many of these tales, in this short book (192 pages), were new to me. As an adult I only read three tales out of the twelve, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea, the other tales in the book were all new to me. The others were somewhat entertaining and probably, my younger self would have enjoyed them more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    There are some good stories here, and some that scarred my childhood. Between dead match girls and trashed fir trees not to mention frightening Snow Queens the Thumblinias were sometimes needed. Still they last. Excuse me I didn't get much sleep last night, there was something poking my back under my 20 mattresses. There are some good stories here, and some that scarred my childhood. Between dead match girls and trashed fir trees not to mention frightening Snow Queens the Thumblinias were sometimes needed. Still they last. Excuse me I didn't get much sleep last night, there was something poking my back under my 20 mattresses.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    This is an absolutely fantastic collection of Hans Christian Andersen's best work. The translation, by Tiina Nunnally, is sublime and her notes on past translations of Andersen's stories makes it clear just how sublime it is. If you wanted to read a version closer to H.C. Andersen's original, you'd have to read these in Danish. Jackie Wullschlager's introduction is easily one of the best I've read and an essential lens through which to better understand these tales. Short of reading Wullschlager' This is an absolutely fantastic collection of Hans Christian Andersen's best work. The translation, by Tiina Nunnally, is sublime and her notes on past translations of Andersen's stories makes it clear just how sublime it is. If you wanted to read a version closer to H.C. Andersen's original, you'd have to read these in Danish. Jackie Wullschlager's introduction is easily one of the best I've read and an essential lens through which to better understand these tales. Short of reading Wullschlager's biography of Andersen, "Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller", I think you'd be hard pressed to read a more wonderful account of Andersen's life and stories than this 32-page introduction. And what about the stories themselves? The stories are, of course, phenomenal. This is the first time I've read any of Andersen's stories since I was a child and, if possible, I enjoyed reading them even more as an adult. All the witticisms and references to Andersen's life that you don't pick up on as a child are to be savored as an adult. Many of these stories I had never read or heard before, so I was also surprised and brought back to what it was like to be a child again - so enrapturing are these tales. There are a total of 30 to be found in this lovely collection, some utterly delightful, others surprisingly dark, and still others that perhaps pale in comparison to the rest. But one thing that is for sure is that these tales are rendered by Tiiny Nunnally to be enjoyed better than ever before in English. 1. The Tinderbox - 5 Stars Yes, this is a 5-star story to be sure. More folk than fairy, this tale is in fact based on an older Danish folktale that Andersen transformed with his characteristic wit. It features an A+ decapitation and glorious references to sugar-pigs, cake-wives, and social status. It's stupendous. 2. Little Claus and Big Claus - 5 stars So when I saw the title for some reason I thought that this was going to have something to do with Santa Claus until I realized that, oh yes, Claus is actually a name for ordinary people as well - specifically, Germanic men. But that aside, this is a hilarious story, also based on a Danish folktale, about an awfully clever little fellow who performs some delightful tricks. 3. The Princess on the Pea - 5 stars This is a simple little story but I liked it all the same. One of Andersen's more famous, it has been at last been rendered into English with the correct title (previously this was widely known in English as "The Princess AND the Pea"). A princess who's able to feel a pea beneath 20 mattresses and 20 quilts?? Why, that's something special indeed! How the pea didn't get squashed is something I would have enjoyed learning. 4. Thumbelina - 5 stars Another Andersen classic, "Thumbelina" is a delightful tale and at times a bit scary. Inspired by the folktale "Tom Thumb", this one concerns a little thumb-sized lady and her adventures out in the big wide world. You'll never look at moles the same way! 5. The Traveling Companion - 5 stars This is the first story in the collection that I don't remember having heard before. And it is absolutely fabulous. Quite darker than the ones that preceded it as well. To call it the Danish "Rumplestiltskin" doesn't quite do it justice, and I actually think I liked it better than that famous Grimm Brothers' tale. 6. The Little Mermaid - 5 stars The most famous of Andersen's stories and, in my opinion, the best. The Disney adaptation, which is almost more famous now than the original, is one of Disney's best films and it is still a terrible adaptation. This has it all, including an almost perfect ending. I saw "almost" because the last page of this feels tacked on. The Little Mermaid throws herself from the ship into the sea, and her body dissolves into foam. That should have been the end But instead we get a bizarre bit about "daughters of the air" and an obvious plea to children to be good. That tarnishes what would have otherwise been a perfect tale. But, even tarnished, this is still the great writer's best. 7. The Emperor's New Clothes - 5 stars After "The Little Mermaid", this is likely my favorite of Andersen's stories, and after "The Little Mermaid" it's also probably his most famous. You all know the story, no need for me to recap it here, but I was surprised to learn that the little boy's famous cry at the end of "But he doesn't have anything on!" was hastily added by Andersen after the story had already been sent off to the printer's. This is a satire as excellent and brilliant today, in the age of Trump, as ever. 8. The Steadfast Tin Soldier - 5 stars Delightfully poetic. This is the first of Andersen's stories in this collection to feature inanimate objects brought to life. I'd never noticed how clearly Andersen influenced later films like "Toy Story" until I read this story about the quite appropriately named Steadfast Tin Soldier. 9. The Wild Swans - 5 stars Another classic, albeit one I wasn't too familiar with. This one is also based on a classic European folktale, and it's got all the famous elements we see in other tales like Cinderella. Evil stepmother, a bit of magic, and the transformative power of love. 10. The Flying Trunk - 3 stars This is a sort of story within a story, one involving matches and some dishware, and the other the titular trunk and a Turkish engagement. If only our rich merchant's son could have resisted the urge to set off those fireworks... 11. The Nightingale - 5 stars Surprisingly sweet, this story of the Chinese Emperor and his obsession with the nightingale took a number of unexpected turns. Andersen was clearly in high spirits when he wrote this one. 12. The Sweethearts - 4 stars This thought-provoking tale feels like something Andersen wrote after having become the most famous writer in Denmark (and one of the most famous in all Europe) and thinking back on when a woman he loved rejected him - and, lo and behold, it was! All I can say is, that ball deserved it. 13. The Ugly Duckling - 5 stars Come on. You know you love this one. Another one with clear allusions to Andersen's life. 14. The Fir Tree - 4 stars It's only once you've grown up that you realize that all that urgency to grow up was unwarranted. A reminder to slow down and savor life while you can. 15. The Snow Queen - 5 stars This is one of Andersen's more beloved tales, and it features some beautiful moments and spectacular images. The first part, about the mirror, is haunting, and this more than any of Andersen's other tales seems to deal with the battle between good and evil. Reading it, I was reminded of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. 16. The Red Shoes - 3 stars Behave yourselves, children! Don't you wear red shoes when you ought to be wearing black ones or you'll be forced to dance dance dance! 17. The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep - 3 stars Worth it just for the final line - "and (they) loved each other until they broke". 18. The Shadow - 5 stars Woah! I was not expecting that! This reads much more like something Franz Kafka would have written than Hans Christian Andersen. Surprisingly dark and spookily strange. There's nothing else quite like it in Andersen's oeuvre. 19. The Old House - 4 stars There's something surprisingly spooky about this store, reportedly much beloved by Charles Dickens. That poor tin soldier... 20. The Little Match Girl - 5 stars Speaking of Charles Dickens, this gorgeous and heartwrenching story is H.C. Andersen at his most Dickensian. The image of the Little Match Girl, shuddering with cold while staring into the windows of those whose tables were laden with New Year's feasts is absolutely haunting. One of Andersen's best. 21. The Story of a Mother - 4 stars Andersen's misery at his repressed bisexuality and societal isolation made for some incredible tales, not least this one. It all begs the question: whose stories are better? Happy Hans or Miserable Hans? 22. The Collar - 3 stars So I've decided I'm not as big a fan of Andersen's stories that feature inanimate objects as primary characters as much as I am the others. This one I found rather ho-hum. Though it is amusingly self-deprecating. 23. The Bell - 3 stars This one was pleasant enough, but failed to leave much of an impact. 24. The Marsh King's Daughter - 2 stars I thought this one was much too long, featured too many religious overtones, and was ultimately quite unmemorable. Overshadowed by many, much better, stories. 25. The Wind Tells of Valdemar Daae and His Daughters - 2 stars I don't think the wind told it best. 26. The Snowman - 4 stars One can once again see evidence of Andersen's suppressed desires in the Snowman's desperately wanting to be with the Stove. Something that European society at the time would have certainly found most unnatural. 27. The Ice Maiden - 5 stars This fantastic story, set in Switzerland, is one of the best in the collection. Two people, stranded on the island in the little lake, until the Ice Maiden calls the other away. An image both beautiful and haunting. 28. The Wood Nymph - 4 stars Beautiful, uncorrupted nature versus the corrupt hustle and bustle of the city. Andersen as environmentalist, perhaps? 29. The Most Incredible Thing - 5 stars On art and those who would seek to eradicate it. Used during WWII by the Danish Resistance. Without art, without culture, there is nothing. 30. Auntie Toothache - 4 stars This was the last story Hans Christian Andersen ever wrote. Andersen suffered from toothaches his entire life (19th-century European dentistry not being what it is today), and here he has his protagonist, a poet, receives a visit from the titular Auntie Toothache, who promises pain unless the poet should give up writing - forever. Humanity has to be grateful that Andersen himself never made such an agreement.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melania 🍒

    3.5|5 Huh... some of these fairytales are tough to read even as an adult. It’s weird when thinking that HCA stories were always my favorite as a child. 3.5|5 Huh... some of these fairytales are tough to read even as an adult. It’s weird when thinking that HCA stories were always my favorite as a child.

  7. 5 out of 5

    M Blankier

    Andersen is probably best known today for “The Little Mermaid,” usually in the sense that children who have seen the Disney film often hear, from their friends, something to the effect of, “Did you know that she actually dies in the end.” Andersen stories, more than any other traditional fairy tales, are filled with pathos and sadness, and end badly for their protagonists. But to dismiss Andersen’s tales as “dark” fairy tales or, as seems to often be the case, a way to totally scar children forev Andersen is probably best known today for “The Little Mermaid,” usually in the sense that children who have seen the Disney film often hear, from their friends, something to the effect of, “Did you know that she actually dies in the end.” Andersen stories, more than any other traditional fairy tales, are filled with pathos and sadness, and end badly for their protagonists. But to dismiss Andersen’s tales as “dark” fairy tales or, as seems to often be the case, a way to totally scar children forever, is truly to miss out on an incredible imaginary world, one so rich in meaning and elegantly constructed in lyrical language, and to which we mostly owe the aesthetic sensibilities we associate with fairy tales today. When you imagine a fairy tale, you don’t just see the beautiful princess and handsome suitor of the Grimms or Perrault, but the untainted, exquisite nature of Andersen, the warmth of a hearth, the sparkling of snow, the detail. No fairy tale writer before Andersen had been so literary. Nunnally’s translation is faithful not only to the original language, but the poetic spirit of the original text. Yes, Andersen’s stories are brutal, but they are also gentle; merciless, but also sympathetic and tender. The ending of “The Little Mermaid” so often quoted is actually an invitation to children to be good. Like clapping your hands to bring a fairy back to life in Peter Pan, a good child helps shorten the mermaid’s sentence in purgatory and send her to heaven; it’s very beautiful, and if you bypass Andersen’s tales under the idea that they’re screwed up, as I almost did, you are missing out on one of the greatest children’s classics ever written.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)

    Saw this on the shelf at my library yesterday when I was browsing the audiobook selection, and used my Goodreads barcode app to scan it in from when I listened to it several months ago. I mostly enjoyed this, although I didn't love all the stories and I kept falling asleep on others as I listened (a hazard associated with listening to audiobooks at bedtime). Listening to 'The Little Mermaid' brought back that sense of sadness and poignancy of reading this much-loved story as a child. There are o Saw this on the shelf at my library yesterday when I was browsing the audiobook selection, and used my Goodreads barcode app to scan it in from when I listened to it several months ago. I mostly enjoyed this, although I didn't love all the stories and I kept falling asleep on others as I listened (a hazard associated with listening to audiobooks at bedtime). Listening to 'The Little Mermaid' brought back that sense of sadness and poignancy of reading this much-loved story as a child. There are other stories in this volume that are equally sad, such as "The Steadfast Tin Soldier,' which gives me some serious heartache. Although Andersen's stories are for a younger crowd than say, Grimms', there are some adult subject matter and themes here. At the same time, that sense of awe and enthusiasm that marks Hans Christian Andersen's storytelling gives these stories a lighter feel than the often gruesome and dark tone of many the real fairy tales (not the Disney versions). But I honestly think that fairy tales are almost essential to giving a child cultural development. It's nice to know that there is the option to play some of these fairy tales as audiobooks, although nothing beats reading a book with a child. I wasn't able to finish this, since it was due back, but I listened to the bulk of it, and I feel I should be able to count it as read. I was glad to see this at my library and that I had the opportunity to enjoy it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I recently chose this book for my book cub. I love HCA fairy tales. They are so compelling and read as though you are sitting at the man's feet and he is telling them straight to you and guestering with his overly large hands. What was so great about reading them this time is this particular edition that is translated by Tiina Nunnally. It is incredible with it's bio of him in the front- a MUST read and the notes about each story in the back to conect it to a time and place in the authors life. I recently chose this book for my book cub. I love HCA fairy tales. They are so compelling and read as though you are sitting at the man's feet and he is telling them straight to you and guestering with his overly large hands. What was so great about reading them this time is this particular edition that is translated by Tiina Nunnally. It is incredible with it's bio of him in the front- a MUST read and the notes about each story in the back to conect it to a time and place in the authors life. Also, the translation is fantastic. At the begining of each story is a picture of one of HCA's many intricte paper cut outs that he often created, which inspired me to get creative as well. I like that you can read one story or all of them. Some stories are one page long and others are 30, so you can take or leave it based on your time limit. If you haven't read The Little Mermaid and only seen the Disney Movie then you are really missing out. One of the most heartbreaking love stories you will ever read. My personal favorite is Great Clause and Little Clause. I laughed out loud when I read in the back notes that "Andersen sanitizes the sexual innuendo of the traditional version by giving the farmer an irrational dislike of deacons, though the cuckold theme is clear to adult readers." As a kid I totally bought that the farmer just had an irrational dislike of deacons, and rereading them as an adult has just been a pleasure. He is the original to what Pixar is doing now with thier storytelling that will entertain kids, allow them to learn lessons, and have a lot of deep thinking and jokes specifically put in just for adults. Just a note to parents - Some of these stories can be somewhat graphic and if you have a very sensative child you might want to preview them first, these are not your sanatized Disney version, but that is what is great about them. Enjoy!! I have also included some quotes I like about fairy tales. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955) When Albert Einstein was asked how to develop intelligence in young people, he answered: "Read fairy tales. Then read more fairy tales." "Storytellers make us remember what mankind would have been like, had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature tripped up its heels." -- W.B. Yeats "In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected." -- Charles Dickens

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I thought I was a fan of Andersen, but I guess not a good one, as there were several tales here that I did not know. And I never before realized that The Princess and the Pea is actually only one page long. And that The Tinderbox is awful, that soldier is not a good guy. The Swineherd is a terrific story in any edition, and here it has some of the best pix in the book. All the pictures are excellent, actually. They have a certain kind of eerie charm, a beauty that is made of both joy and creepine I thought I was a fan of Andersen, but I guess not a good one, as there were several tales here that I did not know. And I never before realized that The Princess and the Pea is actually only one page long. And that The Tinderbox is awful, that soldier is not a good guy. The Swineherd is a terrific story in any edition, and here it has some of the best pix in the book. All the pictures are excellent, actually. They have a certain kind of eerie charm, a beauty that is made of both joy and creepiness. You might want to investigate them for yourself before sharing with your child. Many favorites are omitted, which is good because nobody needs another version of Ugly Duckling, Little Mermaid, or even Snow Queen. I would have liked to see Zwerger's work for The Red Shoes and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, though. Btw, I just did a search, and found HCA's name attached to the movie "Frozen" (gonna investigate that!) and to a list of 212 (!) tales: http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/regi...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    What does one say about Andersen’s Fairy Tales, other than that they are a must read? All fantasy lovers should of course read it, because all fantasy has this sort of primal connection to early humanities’ fear of the dark forests. Everyone else should read it just to see how these tales have evolved into the modern stories that we all know now. I hear people constantly complaining the Disney teachers girls all the wrong lessons (and I have some very biting arguments about that, but another tim What does one say about Andersen’s Fairy Tales, other than that they are a must read? All fantasy lovers should of course read it, because all fantasy has this sort of primal connection to early humanities’ fear of the dark forests. Everyone else should read it just to see how these tales have evolved into the modern stories that we all know now. I hear people constantly complaining the Disney teachers girls all the wrong lessons (and I have some very biting arguments about that, but another time), but what they should be doing is handing these stories out to kids instead. Kids need the whole story. They need to know that Ariel felt like she was walking on shards of broken glass when she walked on her feet, and they should know that Cinderella had her sisters dance to death in iron shoes. Why? Because Life is Pain, and anyone that tells you differently is trying to sell something. Sometimes the world can be dark, and scary, and these stories, more than Disney, will definitely teach you that. Sometimes the Match Girl dies alone in the cold, and sometimes, being a good, kind person, will save you from a horrible death. Both are good lessons.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    This review is for the 1945 collection of Andersen's Fairy tales, illustrated by Szyk. The illustrations are lovely to look at, but some of the stories could be pretty danged dark (as anyone who has studied fairytale history will know) Another reviewer mentioned The Little Mermaid, which IS an Andersen tale... but it's not part of this particular collection. There are a few other tales which might be familiar (Snow Queen, Ugly Duckling, Princess and the Pea) but there is no Little Mermaid in here This review is for the 1945 collection of Andersen's Fairy tales, illustrated by Szyk. The illustrations are lovely to look at, but some of the stories could be pretty danged dark (as anyone who has studied fairytale history will know) Another reviewer mentioned The Little Mermaid, which IS an Andersen tale... but it's not part of this particular collection. There are a few other tales which might be familiar (Snow Queen, Ugly Duckling, Princess and the Pea) but there is no Little Mermaid in here. All in all, this is a good collection if it's not 100 percent complete. I recommend that if you're going to get this book, get its companion of Grimm's fairy tales, illustrated/published by the same people. 4.5/5 stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    Beautiful. Some a bit heavy for the bairns.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This Folio edition of the classic short story collection by Hans Christian Andersen is beautiful, it comes in a protective box, bright red with gold writing on the cover, inside mixed in with the stories are some lovely coloured illustrations by W. Heath Robinson, you can spend ages gazing at these beautiful pictures.  I would also like to thank my Goodreads friend Jazzy Lemon for sending me this book to read to my daughter. Like the Grimm's Fairytales these famous stories many of which have been This Folio edition of the classic short story collection by Hans Christian Andersen is beautiful, it comes in a protective box, bright red with gold writing on the cover, inside mixed in with the stories are some lovely coloured illustrations by W. Heath Robinson, you can spend ages gazing at these beautiful pictures.  I would also like to thank my Goodreads friend Jazzy Lemon for sending me this book to read to my daughter. Like the Grimm's Fairytales these famous stories many of which have been made into children's movies by Disney, are nothing like like the story you probably know.  I had great joy at work when I found out a colleague's favourite movie was The Little Mermaid, I told her about how the original played out, she was not impressed.  There is a lot of violence and cruelty in these stories, there is a lot of piousness (I think that is the right word) too which can feel a bit sickly at times. Whilst reading this to my daughter I enjoyed seeing her eyes light up when we started a story that she knew, she loved the differences from Disney had shown her, I don't think she enjoyed the unknown stories as much though.  She must have enjoyed it though as she has demanded the book to read again herself. Favourite story for me was The Emperor's New Clothes,  reminds me a lot of Boris and his "brexit deal"  :-) Blog review with pictures> https://felcherman.wordpress.com/2020...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Being a Dane means being held down and force fed Hans Christian Andersen until you gag. I have a hard time being objective about the work of H. C. Andersen. Because my whole life I have been TOLD that he is a genius and I have been TOLD to be proud of him. It is like I have been born in to a cult. It's not that I don't like his work. I mean, clearly it has it's merits. But I don't think it is anything spectacular either. And when it comes to fairy tales, I much prefer the kind that have an oral Being a Dane means being held down and force fed Hans Christian Andersen until you gag. I have a hard time being objective about the work of H. C. Andersen. Because my whole life I have been TOLD that he is a genius and I have been TOLD to be proud of him. It is like I have been born in to a cult. It's not that I don't like his work. I mean, clearly it has it's merits. But I don't think it is anything spectacular either. And when it comes to fairy tales, I much prefer the kind that have an oral folk origin - like the ones collected by the brothers Grimm. So what I'm saying is that I do not understand the cult/hype of H.C. Andersen. Is he seriously such a great author that it can justify renaming every Danish tourist attraction in to something that contains the words 'Andersen' or 'fairytale'?! I am a Dane who holds no pride in Hans Christian Andersen. There. I have said it. You can run me out of the village with pitchforks now.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    5 stars Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales have been a part of my childhood so I was surprised that I was not familiar with the tales on this book (with the exception of The Wild Swans, which is one of my favourites). I suppose the reason for this is the tales I read as a child all had happy endings, while most of the tales on this book do not, which makes them more appropriate for adult readers. The beauty of this book is that there are happy and sad stories, about people, animals and flowers, 5 stars Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales have been a part of my childhood so I was surprised that I was not familiar with the tales on this book (with the exception of The Wild Swans, which is one of my favourites). I suppose the reason for this is the tales I read as a child all had happy endings, while most of the tales on this book do not, which makes them more appropriate for adult readers. The beauty of this book is that there are happy and sad stories, about people, animals and flowers, life and death, but all will equally captivate the reader, regardless of age. I particularly loved reading The Little Match Girl, a story about a little poor girl that sells matches in the street. It is a very beautiful story with a sad or happy ending, depending on how you look at it. I recommend this book to everyone who loves fairy tales.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allen

    I read Hans Christian Andersen on my iPad, Macsimus Tango. That means that the book listed here isn't the exact book that I read since I read Gutenberg's version, which is a collection of only a few dozen of the fairy tales. I put this book on my virtual bookshelf because this is the book that I put on my actual bookshelf since I ordered a version of the complete fairy tales from Amazon. My opinion is that if you read an important author then you should own all of the important works and you sho I read Hans Christian Andersen on my iPad, Macsimus Tango. That means that the book listed here isn't the exact book that I read since I read Gutenberg's version, which is a collection of only a few dozen of the fairy tales. I put this book on my virtual bookshelf because this is the book that I put on my actual bookshelf since I ordered a version of the complete fairy tales from Amazon. My opinion is that if you read an important author then you should own all of the important works and you should give them their physical dignity upon your book shelf. As a technophile, I think virtual bookshelves are a troubling future. ANYWAYS... I will review Hans Christian Andersen based on the stories that I read. I give this book four stars because I think that the imagination of Hans Christian Andersen is profound and that the book is certainly a must read for any thinking person. The book shines light on 19th century Danish life that could not be otherwise entirely understood. In addition, the stories paint memorable pictures of what I and everybody else envisions when one conjures the term 'Fairy Tale'. The Emperor's New Clothes: This tale is wonderful. The moral is memorable. The style is characteristic of the fairy tale genre. I think the story works especially well concerning Andersen's perception of public image when considered with 'The Leap Frog,' 'The Swineherd,' 'The Real Princess,' or just about any other Anderson tale. There is an undeniable dichotomy in Andersen between what one should be and what one wants to be. Of all the tales with this message, I believe this is the best. The Fir Tree: If you want a depressing Christmas story, this is your wish. This story tells the sad tale of a tree's mistaken desires for his life and his ultimate coming to terms with his wrongly-made life's choices. My favorite part about this story wasn't the Fir Tree at all; it was the culturally informative background of the story. The Danish children decorating the tree, celebrating Christmas and enjoying the new Spring. This is a life I certainly didn't have and its peaceful quaintness charmed me although I could go without the band of household rats and mice. The Snow Queen: I heard lots about this story before I actually read it. And all that I heard was generally positive. My opinion was to the contrary. I felt that the story lacked direction and that it tended to wander unnecessarily. I thought the idea of a broken mirror was neat and that the relationship between the two children was memorable but the pages and pages of conversations with vegetation was mind numbing. This story was probably my least favorite of the bunch. The Little Match Girl: I had also heard about this story. I liked the imagery and I feel that the story could be well adapted into some form of visual art. The setting is so static yet the story is so diverse as we watch a freezing poor child attempt to stay warm in the light of a match's flame. Her thoughts are so vivid that they do seem to warm the reader. Now for the stranger stories. The Shadow: This story reminded me of Kafka. I would certainly like to know if good ole Franz ever read this story. The change of being and perspective in this story was quick, convincing and intelligent. I think there is a thesis in this story that investigates the pre-Marx master-servant relationship. I'd like to read this story again after I've been in the workforce for several years. The Bell: I think I see where Andersen was going here, but I think he failed. It was a boring story with too ambitious a message. What I read what unbelievable and rambling. The Story of a Mother: This story is historical proof that beer and ale were not originally mean to be frosty and cold. In this story, a man is nourished against the cold of winter by some ale put on the stove especially for him to warm. Naturally, the man enjoys it just like a modern beer commercial. I want to speak briefly of my favorite story - The Shoes of Fortune. This story is the earliest literary example of believable science fiction that I have read except for maybe the unbreakable glass of Petronius' Satyricon. I marveled at how Andersen showed how the Danish landscape of Copenhagen had changed so unmistakably over the centuries. This story is for any history lover and for anybody who enjoys watching a member of a culture attempt to define and understand his own culture. This story took a cultured gentleman of the 19th century into a barbarian past and takes a less cultured workman of the same century into the dystopia of the, for lack of a better word, Bourgeois. If you read Andersen, read this story because it is an edifying experience that should not be missed. In all, the book does not deserve five stars because some stories are just too boring and poorly articulated. Nevertheless, Hans is a must read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, edited by Neil Philip & illustrated by Isabelle Brent A collection of twelve fairy-tales, translated and compiled by Neil Philip, and illustrated by Isabelle Brent, this volume is an ideal choice for the young child first approaching Hans Christian Andersen's work as an independent reader. With an engaging, colloquial text, and beautiful gold-toned illustrations and page-borders, it has both visual and narrative appeal, and its limited scope will not intimi Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, edited by Neil Philip & illustrated by Isabelle Brent A collection of twelve fairy-tales, translated and compiled by Neil Philip, and illustrated by Isabelle Brent, this volume is an ideal choice for the young child first approaching Hans Christian Andersen's work as an independent reader. With an engaging, colloquial text, and beautiful gold-toned illustrations and page-borders, it has both visual and narrative appeal, and its limited scope will not intimidate the beginning reader in the same way a "complete tales" edition might. From the extremely brief The Princess and the Pea, in which a princess unknowingly passes a test to determine whether she is true royalty, to Andersen's seven-chapter masterpiece, The Snow Queen, in which young Gerda pursues and rescues her friend Kay from the icy reign of reason, these tales are given a full and complete translation by Philip, who discusses their conversational tone in his introduction. Here too is Thumbelina, that tale of a diminutive heroine who must escape a number of unsuitable suitors, and The Wild Swans - always one of my favorites - in which Elisa must save her eleven brothers from the curse place upon them by their wicked stepmother. Andersen's Chinese fantasy, The Nightingale, and his story of The Ugly Duckling, round out the first half of the collection, which seems to focus on his most well-known tales. The rest of the selections are probably less familiar to the casual reader, although Andersen fans will undoubtedly recognize them. The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, in which two porcelain figurines fall in love, is another of those Andersen tales - like The Steadfast Tin Solider or The Old House - in which sentient toys play an important role. The Shadow follows the odd story of a philosopher who is supplanted by his shadow, while It's Perfectly True is an exploration of the way in which stories are exaggerated and distorted over time. Grief is a brief and pointed tale highlighting the idea that what is trivial or silly to one, can be immensely meaningful to another; and Father's Always Right - one of the few of these tales taken from folklore - follows a farmer's series of trades, all of which find favor with his wife. Finally, The Snowman relates the tale of a snowman who falls in love with a stove. An engaging range of selections, and a capable translator ensure that this collection is a success. I cannot say I cared overmuch for Brent's human figures, save the more stylized portraits, but otherwise her artwork is simply gorgeous. All in all, a lovely little book, sure to appeal to Andersen fans, and fairy-tale readers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mackey

    You can find many versions of Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales, many of which are free to download through the Gutenberg Project. The collection I read by H. C. Anderson was one of the earliest translations and contained some of the lesser known tales. It also included marvelous illustrations as did the original. Each of these tales is complete with a moral for children and adults alike, something which often got lost in the retelling over the decades. That is why I like to go back as close You can find many versions of Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales, many of which are free to download through the Gutenberg Project. The collection I read by H. C. Anderson was one of the earliest translations and contained some of the lesser known tales. It also included marvelous illustrations as did the original. Each of these tales is complete with a moral for children and adults alike, something which often got lost in the retelling over the decades. That is why I like to go back as closely as possible to the original. If you've never read these tales or only read the watered down versions, I encourage you to read these and his other stories. They truly are delightful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    * 3.5 A good compilation full of children's classics fairy tales. My favs: * The steadfast tin soldier * The emperor's new clothes * The Nightingale "Every once in a while a man is born who is able to see the magic, the mystery, the poetry beneath the surface of familiar things. This ability we call imagination—the power to picture vividly the unseen." -The prologue. * 3.5 A good compilation full of children's classics fairy tales. My favs: * The steadfast tin soldier * The emperor's new clothes * The Nightingale "Every once in a while a man is born who is able to see the magic, the mystery, the poetry beneath the surface of familiar things. This ability we call imagination—the power to picture vividly the unseen." -The prologue.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    There is a foreignness to these tales that I found unsettling. I could not decide whether it was the foreignness of Faerie or of Denmark or of Andersen's imagination. I was intrigued and yet repeatedly found myself surprised in a flat, shocked, puzzled kind of way rather than a full, satisfying, meaningful kind of way. I never felt at home in the world as Andersen imagines it. Why do so many of the stories have drawn out, detailed portions that add little or nothing to the plot? Why do so many e There is a foreignness to these tales that I found unsettling. I could not decide whether it was the foreignness of Faerie or of Denmark or of Andersen's imagination. I was intrigued and yet repeatedly found myself surprised in a flat, shocked, puzzled kind of way rather than a full, satisfying, meaningful kind of way. I never felt at home in the world as Andersen imagines it. Why do so many of the stories have drawn out, detailed portions that add little or nothing to the plot? Why do so many end tragically, or--worse yet--ambivalently, leaving the reader wondering what to make of the story's events? I hope some day I will gain insight that will allow me to understand and enjoy Andersen's fairy tales more. Hearing all Has Christian Andersen's fairy tales together reminded me how many well-loved stories he penned. It also made me realize how many largely-unknown stories of his exist. I really hoped one of those would jump out and become an intimate favorite, but it was not so. I did notice with some interest that nearly all of the "unknown" stories have strong Christian elements in them. Many are also quite dark. The shadow of the man who takes over his life and forces the true man to be his shadow. The lovers whose long story ends with cruel death on their wedding night. A wood nymph who lies dying in a city, a situation which Andersen compares to a woman in a bathtub who has slit her wrists but still has some innate desire to live. There's a dark analogy if ever I heard one. I don't mind dark fairy tales, and I don't necessarily even mind tales without an intended moral or theme, but I do mind finishing a dark tale and wondering whether it was supposed to have any meaningful message or not.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Koen Crolla

    It's a good idea to go back and reread fairy tales as an adult, because they tend to have dimensions that go over a child's head, or different endings that were bowdlerised for the children's edition. Many of them are just good stories, and fantastic in a way that modern literature rarely is. This collection probably isn't the best choice to go back to, though. If you're looking for fairy tales in general, Andersen is probably a worse choice than Grimm or Perrault to begin with, because so many o It's a good idea to go back and reread fairy tales as an adult, because they tend to have dimensions that go over a child's head, or different endings that were bowdlerised for the children's edition. Many of them are just good stories, and fantastic in a way that modern literature rarely is. This collection probably isn't the best choice to go back to, though. If you're looking for fairy tales in general, Andersen is probably a worse choice than Grimm or Perrault to begin with, because so many of his stories are pointless and dull, and while this collection includes pretty much all of his most famous ones (Emperor's New Clothes, Ugly Duckling, Little Mermaid, Snow Queen, &c.), it also includes a lot of dross. The editors pride themselves on the translation maintaining a story-teller flavour rather than favouring readability, which is a pretty mixed bag. Still, the stories themselves are all short and easy to get through.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diane Lupton

    read for the theme - author's last name begins with the letter "A" Of course I always knew the old, origianl fairy tales are far darker than their Disney remakes but sheesh. How did kids even understand some of these? How did they not have nightmares? Most of the stories reminded me of a grandparent making up a story on the spot for a grandchild but I would hope it had a happier ending. Some of the endings were so abrupt I was left thinking wtf! A few thoughts on a couple of the tales: The Snow Que read for the theme - author's last name begins with the letter "A" Of course I always knew the old, origianl fairy tales are far darker than their Disney remakes but sheesh. How did kids even understand some of these? How did they not have nightmares? Most of the stories reminded me of a grandparent making up a story on the spot for a grandchild but I would hope it had a happier ending. Some of the endings were so abrupt I was left thinking wtf! A few thoughts on a couple of the tales: The Snow Queen reminded me of Narnia The Steadfast Tin Soldier was just sad The Little Mermaid was left trying to find a soul The Candles I thought was touching The Emporer's New Clothes was pretty much the same Thumbelisa was ok After reading this, I'm looking forward to seeing what the Grimm's Fairy Tales have in store for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    A summer re-read, and what an excellent choice! An outsider himself, Andersen gets to the heart of abandonment, loss and cruelty. And yet he is also funny and slyly observant of humanity's minor quirks. Rackham's illustrations, while perhaps not his best work (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens would be my choice), are still a delight to see. He even took a trip to Copenhagen to get a feel for the architecture and Danish spirit. A summer re-read, and what an excellent choice! An outsider himself, Andersen gets to the heart of abandonment, loss and cruelty. And yet he is also funny and slyly observant of humanity's minor quirks. Rackham's illustrations, while perhaps not his best work (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens would be my choice), are still a delight to see. He even took a trip to Copenhagen to get a feel for the architecture and Danish spirit.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyrie

    I like his stories. They're not cleaned up, Disney-fied and they're scary sometimes. He doesn't talk down to children. I've had this book forever (even crayoned all over the cover -shame on me) and I still love it! I like his stories. They're not cleaned up, Disney-fied and they're scary sometimes. He doesn't talk down to children. I've had this book forever (even crayoned all over the cover -shame on me) and I still love it!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dina Riadh

    i have a very old copy of hans christian andersen ... when i was a little girl my father was used to read for me when i was able to read by my own i read it it is emazing book..

  27. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Hans Andersen: His Classic Fairy Tales, translated by Erik Haugaard, illustrated by Michael Foreman This collection of eighteen fairy tales from the work of Hans Christian Andersen is taken from Erik Haugaard's 1973 translation, The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories , and is illustrated by noted English artist Michael Foreman. It is a companion volume to a similar collection of tales from the Brothers Grimm, also illustrated by Foreman, The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales . These are stori Hans Andersen: His Classic Fairy Tales, translated by Erik Haugaard, illustrated by Michael Foreman This collection of eighteen fairy tales from the work of Hans Christian Andersen is taken from Erik Haugaard's 1973 translation, The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories , and is illustrated by noted English artist Michael Foreman. It is a companion volume to a similar collection of tales from the Brothers Grimm, also illustrated by Foreman, The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales . These are stories which usually require no introduction, whether it be the tale of a misfit duckling who discovers he is really a swan in The Ugly Duckling, or a tiny, inch-high girl who finds herself adrift in the wide world, in Inchelina (AKA Thumbelina). They range in length, from the epic, seven-chapter Snow Queen, to the two-page Princess and the Pea, and many of them are tinged by that peculiar melancholy which I always associate with Andersen. Here we see the sad fate of The Little Match Girl, the doomed love of The Steadfast Tin Soldier and The Snowman, and the heart-breaking quest for a soul, undertaken by The Little Mermaid. In The Old House we find a reflection upon the passage of time and the strength of memory, and in The Nightingale we observe an emperor who discovers that costly jewels and clever machines cannot bring comfort to the sick bed. Those readers who think of fairy tales as dealing with "happily ever after," will be surprised to discover that so many of Andersen's tales do not end well. The secular modern reader might also be somewhat taken aback at the religious tone of many of these stories, which deal with such concepts as the human soul, the nature of sin, and of divine punishment. I cannot say I always agree with their "theology" - the punishment in The Red Shoes seems a little extreme, and the notion that one obtains a soul through marriage to a man, as The Little Mermaid is advised to do, is absurd - but there is no question that Andersen's faith lends these tales emotional and intellectual depth. Like The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales , I think this volume would make an excellent introduction to an important classic of world folk literature. Because it offers only a small selection of Andersen's 156 tales, it will not prove overwhelming for the very young child. Michael Foreman's art is humorous and eerie by turns, and is the perfect accompaniment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger Originally published in 1991, and containing eight tales, Lisbeth Zerger's Andersen anthology was reprinted in 2001, in an expanded edition containing eleven tales. That later version was again reprinted, in 2006, in honor of Hans Christian Andersen’s 200th birthday. The edition available at my library however, and the one I am reviewing, is the one from 1991. Lisbeth Zwerger - whose many picture-book interpretations of Hans Chris Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger Originally published in 1991, and containing eight tales, Lisbeth Zerger's Andersen anthology was reprinted in 2001, in an expanded edition containing eleven tales. That later version was again reprinted, in 2006, in honor of Hans Christian Andersen’s 200th birthday. The edition available at my library however, and the one I am reviewing, is the one from 1991. Lisbeth Zwerger - whose many picture-book interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen include The Little Mermaid , The Nightingale , and Thumbeline - turns her attention to the larger collection in this delightful anthology, which contains a mix of better and lesser-known tales. Amongst the former are selections such as The Emperor's New Clothes, in which a vain, fashion-conscious ruler is taken in by two charlatans, and The Princess and the Pea, which sees a young woman proving her royalty in an unusual way. Also in this category are The Tinderbox, that tale of a poor soldier whose fortunes are transformed by a magical tinderbox, and The Little Match Girl, a tragic tale of a young girl who freezes to death one cold New Year's Eve. The lesser-known tales include: The Rose Tree Regiment, in which leaf-lice demand to be known by another name; The Naughty Boy, in which the misdeeds of Cupid are recorded; and The Jumpers, in which a flea, grasshopper, and jumping jack compete for the hand of a princess. The eighth selection, which also happens to come first, is the wonderful Sandman, which chronicles the seven nights of dreams the Sandman brings to young Hjalmar. This was undoubtedly my favorite tale, of the lot, and I was simply delighted to see it included! With an unusually tall format, plenty of white space on each page, and one or two gorgeous illustrations per story, this collection is immensely attractive: well laid-out, and visually engaging. The paintings themselves have Zwerger's characteristic sense of sly humor, and emotional depth. I have not looked at the expanded edition, but imagine that it is just as appealing. Well worth the time of any Andersen devotee, as well as Lisbeth Zwerger fans!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ameera Talal

    "Your flowers went to a ball last night, and are tired; that's why they all hang their heads." Whenever the word 'Fairytale' is mentioned, one recalls to mind the pretty princess with her prince-charming and their happily ever after, the all-too-perfect world where good always prevails and bad constantly loses no matter how devious and cunning the villains are, and how whenever the protagonist of the story is in trouble, there's always a hand extending with help whether a human or an inanimate on "Your flowers went to a ball last night, and are tired; that's why they all hang their heads." Whenever the word 'Fairytale' is mentioned, one recalls to mind the pretty princess with her prince-charming and their happily ever after, the all-too-perfect world where good always prevails and bad constantly loses no matter how devious and cunning the villains are, and how whenever the protagonist of the story is in trouble, there's always a hand extending with help whether a human or an inanimate one. Because of course the universal powers are always working towards the good and the beautiful, are they not? Befor I started reading this book I knew full well what was waiting for me, and I knew that, what Disney showed us in its movies was a far cry from the original stories. Yet there was nothing that could have prepared me for these stories. For the moment l stepped into Hans's mind, what I found was darkness and  nothing at all of the sweet and innocent world we came to know and love and attach to fairytales and their natural unsophisticated happy endings. With Hans you learn that true happiness exists only in the after life, because only then will it be permanent. You see how the fear of the unknown can ruin one's life and take away the joy of the present. You realize that nothing really matters but one's own thoughts and dreams, because what you percieve as the most beautiful event of all could be easily interpreted by others as the most tragic. You come to understand that it's folly to believe that life could ever be constant; whatever hardships or happiness you're experiencing they'll all come to pass at a certain point when you at least expect it. Just remember that there's always a hidden wisdom to everything happening in life even if you don't grasp it at the moment. So many life lessons and experiences are hidden between the lines of these enchanting stories, waiting to be discovered and comprehended. They will show you what it means to see the magic in this world without being deceived by it, and how to put whatever you percieve into its right perspective. Finally, they will leave their mark upon your soul so you'll have no other choice but to use them as life guidelines henceforth.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    My volume of Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen is a 1945 edition illustrated by Arthur Szyk. The book has gorgeous endpapers, 10 full-page color illustrations, and several black and white illustrations. It is an absolutely lovely edition. The stories within are a mixture of the very well-known--such as "The Princess & the Pea," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Snow Queen"--as well as lesser-known stories such as "The Fir Tree," "The Storks," and "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf." I belie My volume of Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen is a 1945 edition illustrated by Arthur Szyk. The book has gorgeous endpapers, 10 full-page color illustrations, and several black and white illustrations. It is an absolutely lovely edition. The stories within are a mixture of the very well-known--such as "The Princess & the Pea," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Snow Queen"--as well as lesser-known stories such as "The Fir Tree," "The Storks," and "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf." I believe there may good reason why some of these tales are not so well-known--some of them are barely two pages long and don't have much of a story at all; others are longer and don't have much of a story at all either. The stories that are good are very, very good. I remember reading "The Snow Queen" in a different collection of fairy tales when I was very young. I enjoyed it immensely and I loved the way Gerda's dedication to Kay and her love for him melted his hard heart and broke the Snow Queen's hold over him. There is something about reading fairy tales when one is young. It is so easy to believe that storks and even the necks of wine bottles could talk and have lives like our own. Birds not only sing for emperors, but they can talk to them too. Most of the stories are fun or interesting and nearly all of them have a moral. In fact, I never noticed how very prevalent Christian references and symbolism were in Andersen's tales before. I'm not sure if the versions I read previously removed those references or if I just missed them. But it is very obvious that a lot of the "magic" in these stories have to do with faith in the Christian religion. It was nice to revisit childhood and read some of my favorite tales. It was a shame that not all of the stories were of equal weight and interest--but a good solid outing, none the less. Three stars. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks!

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