________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 14 . . . . March 16, 2001

cover Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen: A Fairy Tale Told in Seven Stories.

Ken Setterington (Reteller). Illustrated by Nelly and Ernst Hofer.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2000.
48 pp., cl., $19.99.
ISBN 0-88776-497-5.

Subject Headings:
Fairy tales.

Grades 3 - 6 /Ages 8 - 11.

Review by Susan Fonseca.

**** /4


When the snow came down hard one winter's day, Kay's grandmother declared, "Those white bees are swarming."

"Do they have a queen bee?" asked Kay, for he knew that real bees have a ruler.

"Ah, yes," said the old woman, "she flies right in the center of the swarm, where the most snowflakes are. She is the biggest, but she never lies down like the other snowflakes do. On winter's nights she flies through the streets and looks in through the windows. Those windows are covered with ice flowers."

image Imagine that a tale written in 1845 can still capture readers with the promise that even the hardest of hearts can eventually be softened by the faithful love of a true friend.

      The dangerous mirror of an evil magician has just shattered into small fragments of sand that blow into the eyes and hearts of unsuspecting victims. Suddenly, their world is viewed in a negative light, and their hearts become as cold as ice.

      Gerda and Kay lived in a small village in neighboring apartments that almost touched over a small lane. Together, they grew roses in a shared window box. The two friends created wonderful times until the fateful day that the frightening sand blew into Kay's eyes and heart. Instantly, Kay was wicked and mean to Gerda, even destroying their roses. And just as suddenly, he disappeared while riding his sleigh, captured by the Snow Queen and taken to her palace of ice and snow and wind.

      Gerda's love for Kay, however, was so strong that she was determined to find him and bring him back. Her journey transported her through a magical garden where an old woman wanted very much to keep her and to a beautiful palace with a prince and princess who shared with Gerda their good fortune. Clothed in fine garb, she then fell into the hands of a young robber, but even her heart melted to hear of Gerda's devotion. Finally, with the help of two women from Finland and Lapland, she arrived at the Snow Queen's palace.

      Gifted storyteller Ken Setterington has remained true to the timeless tale of Hans Christian Andersen. The narrative flows with an ease that one would expect from a man who has performed his craft in Central Park at the foot of the Hans Christian Andersen statue. Setterington, a children's librarian, lives in Toronto and is the Children and Youth Advocate for Toronto Library Services. In addition to his storytelling, Setterington has been heard reviewing children's books for CBC radio and was named the Outstanding Public Librarian for the year 2000 by the Ontario Library Association. The Snow Queen is his first book.

      As a huge compliment to the tale of Hans Christian Andersen, the illustrations have been done in scherenschnitt which Andersen also practiced. Scherenschnitt is the folk art of papercutting, and the delicate silhouettes were created by Nelly and Ernst Hofer who learned the craft in their homeland Switzerland. The Hofers, with their two children, now live in Perth County, Ontario, where they run a dairy farm. Due to their talent, The Snow Queen was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration.

      The Snow Queen would be a wonderful addition to any library's fairytale collection and as a support for any class studying folk art of the world.

Highly Recommended.

Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364