Sitting and reading fairy tales at bedtime is a magical part of childhood. The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen are among those stories which I fondly remember from my own childhood. This month, I was invited to review a collection of these, retold by Mandy Archer, and published by Parragon Books.
The hardback book is beautifully presented – with a pretty purple cover and silvery lettering and decoration. It features eight different Andersen fairy tales – The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Ducking, The Fir Tree, The Snow Queen, The Nightingale, The Princess and the Pea and The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The delightful illustrations on each page help to bring the stories to life, and although there is a different illustrator for each story, they complement each other well and the consistent style of the detailing on the title pages help them to blend well through the book. I have only one small gripe with the illustrations – the picture on the back cover of the book is taken from the story of Thumbelina which is not one of the stories included in this collection.
The stories are fairly equal in length and at first glance seemed a little on the long side for my two girls. Two-year-old Sophie enjoyed looking at the pictures, but lost interest in the story partway through, as I’d expected but they did manage to hold the attention of my four year old. Jessica particularly liked the stories of The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea and also enjoyed sitting by herself, looking through the book and studying each of the pictures. The final page of the book also gives some more details about the storyteller himself, Hans Christian Anderson, and a brief summary of his life, which I found quite interesting to read.
Overall, we enjoyed this book very much, although I feel that the children will enjoy it more as they get older. At four, Jessica is starting to enjoy longer stories and these stories are at the limit of what can keep her attention at the moment. I can see that this book will become a treasured addition to our library and will continued to be enjoyed in the years to come.
The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen is available to buy from Foyles, RRP £9.99. It would make a perfect Christmas present for children who love fairy tales.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of the book to review through being part of Parragon Books’ Book Buddies. All thoughts and opinions are my own.