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Hans Christian Andersen: His Fairy Tale Life

Hjordis Varmer

29 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0888997981 / ISBN 13: 9780888997982
Published by Groundwood Books
Used Condition: Used - Like New Soft cover
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About this Item

Fine. Paperback. 2001. Originally published at $12.95. Bookseller Inventory # W84010

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Hans Christian Andersen: His Fairy Tale Life

Publisher: Groundwood Books

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Used - Like New

About this title

Synopsis:

This beautifully illustrated biography commemorates the bicentennial of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth. Written by one of Denmark’s best-known children’s authors, Hjørdis Varmer, the book chronicles the fairy-tale like story of Andersen’s life, describing how the eccentric Andersen came from a poor family, was ridiculed by other children, and struggled for many years before finally finding world-wide fame writing fairy tales such as The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, and The Nightingale.

Award-winning illustrator Lilian Brøgger’s highly original illustrations bring out the true spirit of the famous storyteller and incorporate many of Andersen’s own paper cuttings and drawings, making this children’s book one to be cherished.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8–Most of this book describes Andersen's childhood and belated schooling, showing his poverty and the grief he experienced over the death of his beloved father, as well as several horrifying events such as being forced by a teacher to witness the beheading of three young people. Although he was an unattractive outsider, often ill, and made fun of by his schoolmates, Andersen was raised listening to stories and participating in the superstitious rituals his mother believed in. In spite of his weaknesses, he had absolute confidence that he would eventually be famous. The biography is divided into 11 chapters, set up as if they were stories, introduced in the style children may recognize from its use in Winnie-the-Pooh (In which we hear about...). Enough dialogue is included to provide a natural feel to the narrative. The writing flows smoothly, with many details provided to help students picture the places and events. Brøgger's haunting, mixed-media illustrations add to the somber and at times surreal feeling of the text. Done in a childlike style, ghosts, demons, and fears are revealed through the dark tones, and Andersen is portrayed as long-nosed and faintly ridiculous. Andersen's bicentennial is a fine occasion for an author study, and older students will appreciate that Varmer and Brøgger handle the writer's difficult life without romanticizing it. Jane Yolen's more poetic and upbeat The Perfect Wizard (Dutton, 2005) also helps slightly younger students to see the connections between Andersen's life and his stories.–Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
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