Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hans Christian Andersen, An Introduction

Over the next few days, I'll be focusing on retellings of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea". But before I begin that, I wanted to highlight a fantastic picture book biography of Hans Christian Andersen.

The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen
By Jane Yolen (her website has a new look)
Illustrated by Dennis Nolan
Dutton, 2004

I love picture book biographies. I especially love them when the read like picture books, but they still get to the heart of the person like a biography. This book, under Jane Yolen’s amazing hand, does both. Yolen gives just the right amount of information about Andersen’s life. Because so many of Andersen’s fairy tales are interwoven with autobiographical details, Yolen includes quotes from various tales throughout the story, weaving them in as they apply to the facts about his life.

Some interesting facts I learned about Andersen:
He almost got kicked out of school for writing so much. He was writing so obsessively that it got in the way of his schoolwork.

His first book was such a failure that it was used as wrapping paper for cheese.

Look how well known he became despite his failures and shortcomings!

1 comment:

vediwiki said...

It's interesting that classic spirit of Andersen's fairytales is a tight fit in our life. Not the brothers Grimm, but him. Look at another Andersen incarnation - modern illustrations in The Snow Queen by award winning Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Yerko: