Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hans Christian Andersen's Complete Fairy Tales (Canterbury Classics)

When it comes to fairy tales, there are three big names that come to mind - the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Andrew Lang. Depending on what you are looking for and the age range of your child, you could read any or all of these and have enough tales to last you for days. Today, I will be reviewing the Canterbury Classics version of Hans Christian Andersen's Complete Fairy Tales. The book is a pretty edition in that it is hardcover, leather, gold-edged pages, and comes with a ribbon bookmark. The pages are a little thinner than I expected, so there is a little bleed through of text when reading. Also, there are sadly no illustrations, literally zero. This gives me the feel that the book is more geared toward teens or adults, and not younger children.

What leads more to the idea that this book is geared for an older audience is the introduction. In addition to basic information about his life, there are comparisons between the tales of the Brothers Grimm and those of Andersen. "Andersen's stories were also much more Christian in orientation that Grimms'." The introduction goes on to state that "Andersen also uses religion to give his most tragic stories a "happy ending." After these brief introduction, we dive into the fairy tales. The fairy tales themselves are arranged chronologically and start with a recently discovered one entitled "The Tallow Candle." This one was written sometime in the 1820s with the others being written from the mid 1830s to the early 1870s. Within these tales, there are a lot of stories I don't recognize but also a bunch of my favorites like "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling." There are also a bit depressing versions of stories you thought you new, like "The Little Mermaid." Way different than Disney spun it to be!

Overall, this is an impressive volume that's only negative is that it is lacking in illustrations. Aside from that, it is a worthy edition to the Canterbury Classics line of books. If you are looking for classics in an attractive format that will look good on your shelf and will hold the test of time, this is a great selection of books that include other tomes like Bulfinch's Mythology and The Arabian Nights.

This book was provided to me for free by Thunder Bay Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!