Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This enchanting collection, retold by writer and critic Naomi Lewis, contains twelve of Hans Christian Andersen's magnificent stories.

It includes Thumbelina, a little girl no more than a thumb-joint high, "The Emperor's New Clothes", the tale of a man who cares only for his appearance and The Little Mermaid, who longs to one day marry a human prince.

It includes a wonderful cover illustration and new introduction by award-winning picture-book creator Jan Pienkowski.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic
  • ISBN: 9780141329017



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Now that I have a son, I have a renewed interest in children's books, particularly these great Puffin Classics editions, which are inexpensive but a pleasure to look at and read. This slim collection -- not comprehensive, by any means, spans the whole of Andersen's career, and are a mix of his most famous tales and some more obscure ones.Reading these now, I am struck by how melancholy and quietly beautiful many of these stories are. Some of the later tales particularly stand out, probably because I had never read them before. These include a charming story about two snails wondering what it would be like to be cooked and served on a silver platter, as their ancestors were ("The Happy Family"), and a story about a goblin torn between the need for physical sustenance and sustenance of the soul ("The Goblin at the Grocer's"). But my favorite story remains "The Nightingale," about the power of music and the importance of freedom. I owned a beautifully illustrated version of that story as a child (I would love to find a copy now).The notes in this edition are suppled by Jan Pienkowski, who can be over-effusive, even gushing, about the stories, but who does provide some insightful details about Andersen's life and why his fairy tales were so unique and enduring. There are also some reading comprehension exercises for younger readers.

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