The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen – Review
By Daisy (aged 10) and Jayne Crow (mum)
I really enjoyed reading this classic Hans Christian-Anderson novel and I was gripped by the blurb’s description of the icy Snow Queen. It created an exciting impression of the book’s key character before I started reading it.
I was already familiar with the storyline of The Snow Queen as I read a children’s adaption of it a few years ago and so I looked forward to reading the full version. I found the story very gripping – it kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next on Gerda’s exciting adventure to Lapland and the Snow Queen’s palace.
Lucie Arnoux’s illustrations helped to highlight the main themes of each section and the use of pen and ink-style drawings was really interesting. I thought that the black and white colours showed the contrast between good and evil in the story really well.
Overall I loved this book and would recommend it to 9-12 year-olds who like drama or adventure novels – particularly those who are fans of Frozen which was inspired by this book. It has fantastic vocabulary and characters you could never get bored of. 10/10!
I remember first reading this book many years ago when I was around the same age as Daisy and being utterly terrified by the Snow Queen. Having re-read it now I can see how Hans Christian Andersen’s writing had that effect on me.
His ability to create images in the reader’s eye, whilst using relatively simplistic vocabulary is masterful. There is no doubt though that this book has some scary imagery – the witch character with her magic comb who wants to keep Gerda for her own, the bandit girl who sleeps with a knife at her side – even the flowers tell stories of death and anguish!
It’s certainly the darkest of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales and probably would have given Daisy sleepless nights had she read it a few years ago!
However, I loved the heroism of Gerda, and the fact that it was the women in this story who were the heroes. Whilst Kai was enchanted by the Devil’s curse and led further astray by the Snow Queen, it was his sister Gerda and the women who supported her along the way who came to his rescue.
Gerda goes at her mission with the gusto of any hero and when the Finnish woman tells her: “I can’t give the girl any more power than she already has! And how far she’s got in the world on just her two feet!” you can’t help but let out a silent cheer.
This book has a message for our daughters – even in 2017.
‘The Snow Queen’ by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Helen Crawford-White is published by Pushkin Children’s, £6.99, ISBN: 9781782691037