Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales have long delighted millions of readers, young and old, and inspired myriad film, stage, and musical adaptations. This collection, including beloved classics “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Snow Queen” (the basis for the blockbuster film Frozen), and “The Little Match Girl,” is the perfect introduction to Andersen’s groundbreaking use of plain language and realistic settings to explore life’s great mysteries. Inspired by the ancient Danish legends and stories from Arabian Nights that his father told him, Andersen composed his fables to be read aloud, and approached difficult subjects and complex truths with a directness that children and adults still find refreshing nearly two centuries later.
From “The Red Shoes” to “The Dream of Little Tuk,” this selection of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales is a must-have for readers who already know his work by heart, and those discovering the singular power of his imagination for the very first time.
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Denmark and Finland supplied the natural background for the quaint fancies and growing genius of their gifted son, who was story-teller, playwright, and poet in one. Love of nature, love of country, fellow-feeling with life in everything, and a wonderful gift for investing everything with life wrought together to produce in him a character whose spell is in all his writings. "The Story of My Life" is perhaps the most thrilling of all of them. Recognized in courts of kings and castles of nobles, he recited his little stories with the same simplicity by which he had made them familiar in cottages of the peasantry, and endeared himself alike to all who listened. These attributes, while they do not account for his genius, help us to unravel the charm of it. The simplest of the stories meet Ruskin's requirement for a child's story—they are sweet and sad.
From most writers who have contributed largely to children's literature only a few selected gems are likely to gain permanence. With Andersen the case is different. While there are such gems, the greater value lies in taking these stories as a type of literature and living in it a while, through the power of cumulative reading. It is not too much to say that there is a temper and spirit in Andersen which is all his own—a simple philosophy which continuous reading is sure to impart. For this reason these are good books for a child to own; an occasional re-reading will inspire in him a healthy, normal taste in reading. Many of the stories are of value to read to very young children. They guide an exuberant imagination along natural channels.
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