The Snow Queen (Works in Translation)

by Hans Christian Andersen

Hardcover, 1993



Local notes

398.2 And



Candlewick (1993), Hardcover, 48 pages


After the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kai, Gerda sets out on a perilous and magical journey to find him.

Original publication date


Physical description

48 p.; 9 x 0.5 inches


1564022153 / 9781564022158



User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by June Atkin Corwin.

Published in 1975, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen is one of the fullest, most detailed translations I have seen, thanks to the work of R.P. Keigwin, whose name appears only in the colophon. Retaining the original seven chapters, it includes the all-important framing story of the shattered devil's mirror, the many fairy-tales shared by the self-involved flowers in the old woman's garden, and the full episode involving the wild and tame crows, and the prince and princess. Although I would not describe the text as especially beautiful, it is competent and complete, which appeals to me greatly.

More of a chapter-book or novella, than a picture-book, it is still an illustrated edition, with engraving-like artwork by June Atkin Corwin, whose name I had never previously encountered. Fans of this style will undoubtedly appreciate it, although I myself went back and forth, finding some plates very beautiful and weird, in a way that seemed quite fitting for the tale, and others a little too cutesy for my taste. All in all, an interesting edition, although I don't know that anyone need to go to extreme lengths to hunt it down.
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LibraryThing member vidiviki
This is very special book for me. The story is wonderful and the illustrations are full of living art and beauty.The art in this book is truly breathtaking, the details are amazing! I just agreed with many readers about it. For example: "This is perhaps the most extraordinary children's book that I have ever seen.' - Paulo Coelho, Internationally selebrated writer. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil" Or: "The full page illustrations by the award winning Ukrainian artist, Vladyslav Yerko, are alone worth the price of the book. I recommend it to all ages." Robert Goldsborough, Writer and former Chicago Tribune Magazine
editor* I found special edition of The Snow Queen book on the site
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LibraryThing member Caonima
The book is a fast-paced, adventure-laden story of the contrasting lives of two 19th century girls, one raised in the "civilized" portion of Scandinavia, the other the daughter of a shaman and a robber-baron of Lapland. Together they must confront the Ice Queen, sorceress of the icy Northern wastes.

When Gerda leaves home to track down Kai, the boy she wishes would return her love and who has gone North with a mysterious countess to study arcane subjects, she little expects to become the captive of a robber baron of Northern Finland and his daughter's pet plaything. Ritva, the shaman's headstrong daughter comes to realize that Gerda is not just a human pet, fit only to amuse her. Together they seek the Snow Queen's castle in the Northern fastness. Gerda's rational and common sense approach, along with Ritva's innate fey nature and her reindeer, Ba, allow them to release Kai and escape. Ultimately though, Gerda can see that Kai will never truly be interested in her.

As a book for young adults The Snow Queen is just fine, proceeding quickly but in an exciting and page-turning manner. However, the best of childrens' literature reads well for both youngsters and adults, though obviously on different levels. For an older reader The Snow Queen lacks somewhat in depth and, in several instances, I would have liked a particular scene or narrative to continue longer and in more detail. The narrative often skipped forward several weeks or months. This to a certain extent is probably due to the fairy tale source/style, a genre which frequently uses such leaps in time or space, but in The Snow Queen this often precluded anything but the sketchiest details of the society and landscapes around the two young women.
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LibraryThing member ChristinPina
Kai and Gerda were best friends in which they did everything together. There were things going on all around them such as demons playing with what is called the devil’s mirror. When it is broken if it hit someone all they will be able to see is the ugliness in the world and not the beautiful. The mirror was broken and it fell into the eye of Kai he then saw only the bad and didn’t want to play with Gerda anymore but with the older boys. On one winter day Kai was swept away by a snow queen and was taken to her far away castle where he stayed for months but never noticed because it was always winter there. After Gerda had realized Kai was gone she then took an adventure through the forest and gardens to find him. When she found him they escaped from the castle and went back home.

Personal Reaction:
I really liked this story but most likely wouldn’t read it to my class there are a lot of scary images of things that look like demons. This story remaindered me about how I and my best friend would always play together. I liked how whenever Gerda would go in a different location there was a different season.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1.) Talk about all the different seasons and have them draw their favorite season and why it is their favorite.
2.) Discuss friendship and how important it is then have them find a partner and learn about them then introduce them to the rest of the class.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Toma Bogdanovic.

Hans Christian Andersen's seven-part fairy-tale is considerably abridged in this late 1960s retelling by Naomi Lewis, resulting in a curiously flat and unappealing narrative. The framing story of the devil's mirror is omitted altogether, robbing the story of much of its power, and giving many of its events an almost random feeling. Kay's sledding, for instance, has no nasty undertone of rejection - no sense of escaping from Gerda - because his heart and eye have not been pierced by any demonic slivers. He simply goes out to play one day, and disappears with the Snow Queen. By the same token, his eventual awakening from his frozen stupor, after Gerda's arrival at the Snow Queen's palace, is effected by Gerda's tears (which melt his heart), but not his own, which (in the original), wash the distorting sliver out of his eye.

I was surprised at these changes, as I usually find Lewis to be a capable Andersen translator, and greatly enjoyed her excellent work on The Wild Swans. In fact, Lewis herself subsequently worked on a full translation of The Snow Queen, illustrated by Angela Barrett, that it quite well done. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I found Toma Bogdanovic's artwork any more appealing than the narrative. Dark, and rather muddy looking, his illustrations have none of that weird beauty that best becomes The Snow Queen. All in all, I would say that any but the most devoted Andersen reader will probably want to skip this one. Those searching for a good abridgement, if such a thing can be said to exist, might want to look at Amy Ehrlich's retelling, with illustrations by Susan Jeffers.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Bernadette Watts.

Like the unfortunate version adapted by Naomi Lewis and illustrated by Toma Bogdanovic, this edition of The Snow Queen features a heavily abridged narrative and illustrations that feel as if they belonged to another tale. Prolific translator Anthea Bell, whose faithful interpretations of Andersen have often been used in the North-South editions illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger (The Little Mermaid, Thumbeline), puts her hand to the author's longest tale here, but the results are not encouraging.

Although all the major episodes of Andersen's seven-chapter original are retained, so much detail has been elided that the end-result is a text that reads like a rushed summation of events, rather than a story unfolding at its own natural pace. Bernadette Watts, whose artwork appeals to me in its own right, seems the wrong choice for The Snow Queen, with illustrations that are just too sweet for such a strange tale. Somehow, one gets the sense that this edition is seeking to domesticate and tame what is meant to be wild and free. Definitely not one of my favorite retellings of this tale!
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LibraryThing member aryadeschain
I got this book for free from Audible. Not my favorite Andersen tale, but it wasn't so bad, specially for a "Christmas tale". It's a cute story, though I think it's better suited for younger people. You can take a couple of interesting aspects from this book though. First of all, the lack of a damsel in distress. The main character is a girl that tries to find her best friend after he has been hit with a glass shard that turned his heart cold. She does get her share of help, but she is in no way a damsel in distress. I also enjoyed the entities she found on her way, her determination and strength. And, of course, there is the weight of friendship instead of the whole "true love" thing, which is absolutely lovely.
Anyway, it's worth checking it out.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Angela Barrett.

Originally published in 1845, The Snow Queen (Sneedronningen) has always been one of my favorites, of Hans Christian Andersen's many original fairy-tales. It also happens to be one of his longest, divided into seven chapters, or stories (Historier), from the opening piece about the devil's looking glass, and its many splinters, to the final selection detailing what happened to the Snow Queen's palace, and to Gerda and Kai, after they escape. A powerful tale, of a love that never gives up, and is never defeated - not by hardship, or time, or even reason - it has all the hallmarks of great storytelling: a brave and persistent hero(ine), a quest into a strange and wondrous world, and a wellspring of deep emotion.

This lovely edition, translated by Naomi Lewis and illustrated by Angela Barrett, does justice to Andersen's marvelous tale, and although it is not quite the equal of Vladyslav Yerko's version (and really, what is?), it ranks high among the many adaptations I have read. The narrative is true to the original, divided into seven parts, and including many details - the stories told by the flowers in the witch's garden, for instance - that are omitted in other retellings. I appreciated Lewis's introduction, in which she notes the fact that all the female characters in this tale are strong, and often good - a rarity, both in Andersen, and in the wider fairy-tale world! Barrett, whose version of Snow White is my favorite retelling of that tale, delivers a gorgeous visual landscape, full of the depth and mystery I have come to expect in her work.

In sum: a wonderful retelling of The Snow Queen, well worth the time of any reader who loves this fairy-tale, or appreciates beautiful picture-books!
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
The story of a little girl, and a little boy, and how they were separated and brought back together. This is a quaint story told in fairy tale fashion. The reader, Julia Whelan does a fine job. There were a few bits I found tedious, but that may be my impatient spirit at the moment. Brutal in some parts, a reminder that people didn't used to hide the evil or bad parts of life from children. I liked the allusion to the fragments of mirror distorting one's view of the world and all things good in the world, but I really didn't get the ending with the song of baby Jesus and the roses. An enjoyable story though, and just over an hour long.… (more)
LibraryThing member rfewell
Should check out the CD that goes with it, too.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Vladyslav Yerko.

Published in the Ukraine, this beautiful edition of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale retains the format of the original, with seven "chapters" or parts. When young Kay is pierced with slivers of a demonic goblin's mirror, his heart turns to ice and he can only see the bad around him. Kidnapped by the Snow Queen, Kay is taken to the far north, where he becomes caught up in the "icy game of reason," and forgets everything he has ever loved. His childhood friend Gerda has not forgotten him however, and she undertakes a long journey to find him and bring him home...

Like some of Andersen's other stories, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid among them, The Snow Queen is an original creation of the author, rather than a retelling of a traditional folktale. Interpreted by scholars and literary critics in many ways, at its heart, this tale concerns the conflict between good and evil, and between love and intellect. It is clear that Kay's icy heart, and inability to see anything but that which is evil and ugly, are tied to his desire to be "clever," to live by reason alone. Gerda triumphs because her loving heart transforms those around her, from crows to robber girls, into her allies. It is her tears, which spring from her love of Kay, that melt the ice in his heart. I am always particularly struck by Andersen's wisdom, as manifested in the words of the Finmark woman, who observes that the power of twelve men is as nothing compared to the loving heart of one innocent little girl.

It is unfortunate that this beautifully-illustrated book, published in Kiev, Ukraine, is not more widely available in the United States. Vladylsav Yerko does a phenomenal job of bringing this tale to life, and his paintings are intensely involving, whether the scene depicted is icy or warm. This is one of the most gorgeously illustrated books currently in my collection, and I sincerely recommend it to anyone who loves fairy-tales.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Sally Holmes.

English folklorist Neil Philip - whose subsequent Andersen projects include the two collections, Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen and The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales - joined forces with artist Sally Holmes to create this charming retelling of The Snow Queen. With an engaging translation that maintains the seven-chapter format of the original, and delightful illustrations - some full-page plates, others interspersed in the text - this edition is sure to please fairy-tale lovers.

I wasn't entirely convinced, at first, that Holmes' style - with its soft pastel palette, and many cozy scenes - was suitable for The Snow Queen, but I was gradually won over, especially as her use of decorative folk motifs began to remind me a bit of Carl Larsson's work. I also appreciated the fact that Holmes' version is the only one - that I have seen, at any rate - to depict some of the fairy-tales related by the flowers in the Old Woman's garden. It was interesting to see the tiny illustration of the three princesses in their coffins, for instance, as most illustrators concentrate on the major scenes of the main narrative, ignoring such minor diversions. All in all, a lovely retelling, which might have won four stars, if Holmes' depiction of the Snow Queen herself hadn't looked so off to me. Still, this is one criticism in a sea of praise, and I would nevertheless advise readers who love this tale to take a look at this version.
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LibraryThing member NinaCaramelita
The only reason I got myself a copy of The Snow Queen - and then I mean this particular edition, is cos I love Sanna Annukka (her illustrations, that is). Though now I've gotta admit I had forgotten how lovely this tale is! Really enjoyed it!
LibraryThing member Beammey
I had never read The Snow Queen before this, but the cover just drew me in and I HAD to do it.. The story was fantastical and at parts heartbreaking, with another good theme to it. I enjoyed this novella very much and now I understand all the remakes and shows and movies that have borrowed from this story. Absolutely brilliant. I would recommend this book. 4 out of 5 stars.… (more)
LibraryThing member benuathanasia
I shouldn't have read this as an audiobook - the illustration potential must be astounding.
Even still, it's a great story about love and the beauty of life. Having read about Anderson's personal life, it's interesting to see the incredible beauty he was able to see the everyday and the magic he was able to pull from thin-air.… (more)
LibraryThing member SkyD17
The Snow Queen is about a set of friends named, Kai and Gerda, who do everything together before the snow queen blows ice glass into kai's eyes and heart. Gerda goes on a dangerous journey to the snow queen's palace to save Kai despite his change in behavior and saves him with her warm hearted love. This is a good fantasy because there are trolls and evil snow queens involved also a young child goes on a journey by herself through many dangerous places without proper tools and clothing. would use this in intermediate grades may be too intense and scary for younger kids despite its happy ending. illustrations: fine-line pen with ink and dyes applied over a detailed pencil drawing that was then erased.… (more)
LibraryThing member LisCarey
This is a lovely reading of Andersen's story of Gerda and her friend Kai, who becomes contaminated by the shards of a demon-made magic mirror, and succumbs to the lure of the Snow Queen.

Gerda sees the change in her friend when he is affected by the shards, and when he vanishes, she will not believe that he is dead. She sets off on quest to find him, armed chiefly with her courage, loyalty, and good heart.

Something that may seem unexpected to those who grew up on Disney versions of fairy tales is that nearly all the strong characters here, both good and ill, at least the human ones, are women and girls.

Julia Whelan is an excellent narrator, with a delightful voice, and she strikes exactly the right tone in reading this.


This book is free on Audible until January 31, 2015.
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LibraryThing member Robertowiz
Really enjoyed the book reading by Julia Whelan and really enjoyed the book. Will be recommending it to all my friends and family.
LibraryThing member Carlathelibrarian
This is one of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales that I was not very familiar with. In this story Gerda and Kay are best friends who do everything together. When a piece of a cursed mirror falls into Kay's eye and another settles in his heart, he becomes a different person. He is mean to Gerda and does not play with her anymore. When he is sledding with his friends, he grabs onto a white sleigh and is taken off by the Snow Queen. When he does not return home that night, Gerda sets off to find him. She has many adventures and meets both people and animals that help her in her quest. One quote I love from this story is:

"I can't give the girl more power than she already has! Can't you see how powerful she is? Can't you see how people and animals all serve her? And how far she's got in the world just on her own two feet?"

This is a story of friendship, perseverance and doing what feels right. I just wish that there had been more information about what happened when Kay went to live with the snow queen and what happened to him there.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Yana Sedova.

Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy-tale, The Snow Queen, in which a young girl sets out to rescue her friend, kidnapped by the titular winter figure, is presented in this picture-book form with the artwork of Russian illustrator Yana Sedova, and the result is simply gorgeous! The text here holds no surprises for one who has read many versions of this tale, but I was pleased with how it read, and that it included the complete story, with all seven parts. Anthea Bell, who is the translator of this edition, always produces something worth reading.

This title, published in 2014, is the fourteenth picture-book version of The Snow Queen that I have read - what can I say? it's one of my favorite Andersen tales, and I like comparing various artists' interpretations of the same story - and it definitely ranks highly in my esteem. I don't know that it is the equal of my favorites - those done by Vladyslav Yerko and Pavel Tatarnikov - but it is lovely. I particularly liked the scenes set in the flower gardens of the old magic-maker who takes Gerda in, as well as those in the Snow Queen's palace. The painting in which the Snow Queen's skirts form her palace was enchanting! I was disappointed that there was no depiction of the little Robber Girl, but other than that I had no criticism to make. Recommended to all fairy-tale lovers, and to anyone who appreciates beautiful picture-books.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Snow Queen, illustrated by Pavel Tatarnikov.

The thirteenth version of The Snow Queen that I have read, this volume was a distinct pleasure to peruse, with breathtakingly beautiful artwork that held my gaze, and a text that, more than ever, was both poignant and thought-provoking. All of the narrative developments, as well as the overarching themes - the conflict of reason and feeling, between science and faith - were already well familiar to me. Two things struck me, in the course of my reading however, that I do not think I had considered before. The first was the fact that Gerda had red shoes, shoes which she casts away, in her search for Kay. The Snow Queen was first published in December of 1844, a scant few months before the April 1945 publication of another collection containing Andersen's The Red Shoes, in which a young girl is too attached to her footwear, and pays a terrible price for it. It's difficult to think that the contrast between Gerda and Karen (the main figure in The Red Shoes) and the way they behave with regard to their red shoes - perhaps a symbol of sexuality? - isn't deliberate on Andersen's part. After all, part of what gives Gerda her power, according to the narrative, is her "purity and innocence of heart." Does that purity rest, in Andersen's view, on Gerda's rejection of her own sexuality?

Whatever the case might be, this question also touches upon the second thing to strike me, in the course of my reading. Namely, that in addition to whatever else it is, this is a narrative about growing up. Gerda and Kay are children at the beginning of the tale, but by the end they are not. Is Andersen presenting Gerda and Kay as examples of the correct and incorrect way to grow up? The one with feeling, innocence and faith, the other with reason, cold unkindness and math/science? It's a fascinating idea, whatever one thinks of the dichotomies Andersen is creating. Leaving aside these questions of story and text, this version of The Snow Queen is simply beautiful, from an aesthetic perspective. Artistically, this version almost equals (almost, but not quite) the Vladyslav Yerko one in my esteem. Pavel Tatarnikov uses a subtle and muted palette in many scenes, only to break out with vibrant colors in others. His figures are stylized but expressive, his sensibility somewhat surreal, in a way that feels entirely appropriate to the story. My favorite scene, visually speaking, was undoubtedly the one with Gerda and the crow:

In sum: textually dense, with a great deal to interest and entertain in the narrative, and artistically striking, this is a retelling I would highly recommend to all fairy-tale fans, particularly if they love The Snow Queen.
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LibraryThing member aryadeschain
I got this book for free from Audible. Not my favorite Andersen tale, but it wasn't so bad, specially for a "Christmas tale". It's a cute story, though I think it's better suited for younger people. You can take a couple of interesting aspects from this book though. First of all, the lack of a damsel in distress. The main character is a girl that tries to find her best friend after he has been hit with a glass shard that turned his heart cold. She does get her share of help, but she is in no way a damsel in distress. I also enjoyed the entities she found on her way, her determination and strength. And, of course, there is the weight of friendship instead of the whole "true love" thing, which is absolutely lovely.
Anyway, it's worth checking it out.
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