Poppy is gazing out of the window at the snow when suddenly she sees that the snowflakes are really Snow Children, dancing and whirling in the garden. Soon, they whisk her away to the Snow Queen's wintry kingdom. From the author ofThe Story of the Root Children, this is another classic children's story with beautiful illustrations in the art-nouveau style.
Original publication date
This is my second story from von Olfers, who seems, in her picture-books, to have envisioned nature as a benevolent anthropomorphic force, with cute, cherub-like servants. In The Story of the Root-Children, kindly Mother Nature had her toddler-like Root Children, whereas here, the beautiful Snow Queen has her Snow Children, who sometimes appear as snowflakes, and sometime as tiny babies. Although I prefer the sharp, painful beauty of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, in which Winter is seen as an unpredictable, and frequently dangerous power, von Olfers' tale presents a fascinating "answer" to this earlier vision. Here, all is gentleness and light. Which doesn't make for a particularly gripping tale, but could (I imagine) be quite reassuring for the youngest children.
The illustrations, which I have seen compared to the work of such artists as Elsa Beskow and Walter Crane, are delightful! I wasn't sure, with von Olfers' book about the root children, that I really liked her style. But The Story of the Snow Children, with its lovely use of contrast - between the red Poppy, and her pale friends - has convinced me! I definitely want to track down more of this author/artist's work!
This is a cute little book - the pictures would make wonderful Christmas cards, as little red-cloaked Poppy finds herself in the world of the snow children.
Unfortunately the story (such as it is) is banal in the extreme. No moments of excitement hold the reader - Poppy is taken to the nice snow-queen, where they have a birthday party. And that's about it.
Probably more of a purchase for the adult reader who likes the art work than a young plot-driven child.