Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen: A Classic Illustrated Edition


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About this book

Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales are like exquisite jewels, drawing from us gasps of recognition and delight. Andersen created intriguing and unique characters -- a tin soldier with only one leg but a big heart, a beetle nestled deep in a horse's mane but harboring high aspirations. Each one of us at some time, has been touched by one of Andersen's Fairy Tales. Here you'll find his classic tales such as: "The Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, "and "The Ugly Duckling," 38 of your favorite tales in all. This deluxe Children's Classic edition is produced with high-quality, leatherlike binding with gold stamping, full-color covers, colored endpapers with a book nameplate. Some of the other titles in this series include: Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, Heidi, King Arthur and His Knights and The Secret Garden.

Reader's Thoughts


I recently chose this book for my book cub. I love HCA fairy tales. They are so compelling and read as though you are sitting at the man's feet and he is telling them straight to you and guestering with his overly large hands. What was so great about reading them this time is this particular edition that is translated by Tiina Nunnally. It is incredible with it's bio of him in the front- a MUST read and the notes about each story in the back to conect it to a time and place in the authors life. Also, the translation is fantastic. At the begining of each story is a picture of one of HCA's many intricte paper cut outs that he often created, which inspired me to get creative as well. I like that you can read one story or all of them. Some stories are one page long and others are 30, so you can take or leave it based on your time limit. If you haven't read The Little Mermaid and only seen the Disney Movie then you are really missing out. One of the most heartbreaking love stories you will ever read. My personal favorite is Great Clause and Little Clause. I laughed out loud when I read in the back notes that "Andersen sanitizes the sexual innuendo of the traditional version by giving the farmer an irrational dislike of deacons, though the cuckold theme is clear to adult readers." As a kid I totally bought that the farmer just had an irrational dislike of deacons, and rereading them as an adult has just been a pleasure. He is the original to what Pixar is doing now with thier storytelling that will entertain kids, allow them to learn lessons, and have a lot of deep thinking and jokes specifically put in just for adults. Just a note to parents - Some of these stories can be somewhat graphic and if you have a very sensative child you might want to preview them first, these are not your sanatized Disney version, but that is what is great about them. Enjoy!! I have also included some quotes I like about fairy tales.When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955) When Albert Einstein was asked how to develop intelligence in young people, he answered: "Read fairy tales. Then read more fairy tales." "Storytellers make us remember what mankind would have been like,had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature tripped up its heels."-- W.B. Yeats "In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected."-- Charles Dickens

Koen Crolla

It's a good idea to go back and reread fairy tales as an adult, because they tend to have dimensions that go over a child's head, or different endings that were bowdlerised for the children's edition. Many of them are just good stories, and fantastic in a way that modern literature rarely is. This collection probably isn't the best choice to go back to, though.If you're looking for fairy tales in general, Andersen is probably a worse choice than Grimm or Perrault to begin with, because so many of his stories are pointless and dull, and while this collection includes pretty much all of his most famous ones (Emperor's New Clothes, Ugly Duckling, Little Mermaid, Snow Queen, &c.), it also includes a lot of dross. The editors pride themselves on the translation maintaining a story-teller flavour rather than favouring readability, which is a pretty mixed bag.Still, the stories themselves are all short and easy to get through.

Cheryl Gatling

Ah, the fairy tales of H.C. Andersen, where nobody lives happily ever after. Or almost nobody. Thumbelina gets to marry a king and live in a flower. But most of the love is unrequited. Like "Ib and Little Christine." Ib releases the girl he loves to marry another because that other has more money, and he wants Christine to have a better life. But her husband squanders the money, and Christine ends up dying in poverty. The "happy ending" is that Ib adopts Christine's orphaned little girl. Like "The Little Mermaid" who kisses the prince goodbye as he sleeps in his marriage bed with his new wife. The "happy ending" is that the little mermaid gets a kind of immortality by joining "the daughters of the air." Like "The Ice Maiden," who tries to lure Rudy, an alpine climber, to his death on the mountain peaks, but she never can. On the night before Rudy's wedding, the Ice Maiden finally gets him, by drowning him in glacier melt waters. The "happy ending" is that his fiancee is warned in a dream that it was just as well they never got to marry, because she would only have cheated on him anyway. How's that for a heart warmer? Few of these are feel-good stories. But there are good feelings in them. Kindness and simplicity and honesty are praised. Vanity and meanness are condemned. The style is conversational. An attempt was made to translate the ironic, clever, joking turns of phrase that Andersen used, and which don't come through in the children's books made from his tales. Some of the stories are just plain weird. Some of them sound like they were made up on the spot and never edited. The weirder stories make me say, "Huh?" but the best have a haunting quality that sticks with you.


I read this when I was tiny and just found it today and had a flick through. I remember these as being well told, simple, absorbing. I remember absolutely loving "The Snow Queen". I think I actually had a separate book with that in, as well, with absolutely beautiful illustrations.[April 09:]Just reread this book. It's surprising how rich these fairy tales are considering that they're given to children. Some of them are ridiculous and pointless, really, except that they're charming little stories. Some of them have morals, which can be irritating to us. I remember loving some of these stories so much, as I said when I first reviewed this: my favourites now are "The Snow Queen" and "The Little Mermaid", while I remember loving "The Ugly Duckling"... Some of these are actually so much in a kid's consciousness that I didn't remember they were by Andersen.Lovely little collection, I reread them via the Penguin £2 edition, which is definitely worth the money.


Holy crap... this is the book that won't end.It's a very faithful translation of the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and I'm sure much of the humor of these tales are lost in the translation. There are some famous ones that you know included here. Thumbelina, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Matchgirl, The Red Shoes, The Ugly Duckling and The Steadfast Tin Soldier. But these are all very short, and the book is WELL over 500 pages long. It is tedious, I'm not going to lie. And some of the tales are quite gruesome. But it's also interesting to learn how Disney-fied our understanding is of a lot of these stories. Granted I'm not sure that any of these have been made into Disney films, except for The Little Mermaid. The author also claims that The Emperor's New Groove is a takeoff of The Emperor's New Clothes, but I see no correlation other than the title - I'm going to tackle the Grimm's Fairy Tales next so we'll see how that goes.


Very different from the sanitized versions most of us grew up with.

Juan Pablo Luppi

¡Oh Hans, cuán ñoño eres! ¡Cuán simplísticamente moralino! ¡Cuán capaz de ahogar el más simple argumento con exclamativas!Leí este libro hasta el final, porque me gusta conocer historias nuevas, y porque alguna de las viejas no las conozco en su formato habitual. Por ejemplo, La sirenita, que languidece como su protagonista hasta un final "redentor" que elimina cualquier fuerza dramática inicial.Si hay un héroe en la comunidad escéptica, es el niño que grita "el rey está desnudo": la representación, dirían, de aquel que no se deja engañar por el discurso social y recurre a la evidencia para formar su opinión.Pues bien, amigos, úsenlo así si quieren, pero sepan que para Hans, el niño dice la verdad PORQUE ES UN NIÑO SIMPLE, PURO Y NATURAL. No hay una pizca de racionalidad en este ni en ningún otro cuento. Y no se trata, por supuesto, de ser cuentos de hadas. Se trata de que HCA es de un romanticismo reconcentrado: la virtud de la inocencia, la pureza del amor, la frialdad de la ciencia y de la razón, y así hasta el hartazgo. Sí se burla a menudo de la pomposidad y la petulancia, pero el entorno de otros cuentos hacen que uno se cuestione fuertemente las razones.Dejo el libro con la amarga sensación de conocer, ahora una de las líneas más ponzoñosas de nuestro inconciente colectivo, y temo pensar en la concepción de infancia que los impulsa. Aguante los hermanos Grimm.


These stories make me cry. Grimm's fairy tales are cautionary fables. These are tiny little slices of tragic reality, dressed up in doll's clothing or hidden behind animal masks. Check out "The Steadfast Tin Soldier,""The Ugly Duckling,"and "The Little Match Girl." Devastating.

Kathleen Galvin

My copy of this book was handed down to me by my Father. It is an ancient book with brown pages and a missing dust jacket. It looks like it was printed in the 40’s but I can’t be sure because the book does not contain a verso.The first tale is that of the stork and in keeping with the theme of the book is undeniably sweet, but also twisted. There are definitely morals behind each and every tale, but not all the morals are ones I necessarily share. Possibly because of their heavily Christian undertones.Some of the stories could be very hit and miss but I did enjoy learning about the macarbe truths of stories such as the little mermaid where the witch, instead of just taking the little mermaid’s beautiful singing voice, cuts out her tongue.The little mermaid is then given a potion which grants her legs but to walk on them feels like being stabbed by a thousand knives and in the end the prince doesn’t even fall in love with her, which of course kills the mermaid (literally).She gave up her life, her family and her voice just to have him marry someone else. But it’s all meant to be okay because she ends up going to heaven for all she has sacrificed. It was interesting to see how the stories were originally written and how much Disney changed them completely.I particularly liked the stories ‘The Nightingale’ and ‘The Daisy’.


Few things are more intriguing than reading stories you've grown up with your entire life and then finding them very different in their initial form. I had a blast reading this book. As with any selection of short stories I have my favorites but there were very few I didn't care for. The Red Shoes, The Little Mermaid & Thumbelina are still favorites however I love the The Shadow and The Marsh King's Daughter. Anderson weaves beautiful stories filled with imagery, lessons and intrigue. I was afraid his language would be boring and the stories less than I'd imagined however I was pleasantly surprised. Interesting as well was the information on what occurred in his life while he was writing- never knew he was bi-sexual and the The Little Mermaid was written out of grief at his lover's marriage. I recommend for everyone to read this collection- it is a new genre of the day and has become something else thanks to Disney since it's introduction and the dark nature of these delightful stories is captivating.


The first word that came to mind after reading a few of these tales was: "delightful". And they are - but they are also creepy, funny, sad, tormented, tragic, and very beautiful. I was also struck by the fact that the concept of "god" and "angels" and all the familiar religious mythology peacefully co-exist in these tales with trolls, fairies and other fantasy creatures. I found this fact to be striking, and somehow it made me appreciate that perhaps religion, at it's best, is simply an attempt by people to direct their gratitude for all that is great in the world.This is the edition to read. I am convinced that Tiina Nunnally has done the truest translation of Andersen's work to date, and Andersen's paper cuts that are used to introduce each story are a great touch. The introduction to this collection was utterly fascinating, and essential reading before getting into the tales. At the end of the volume there are notes on each of the tales -- these notes are very enlightening, and provide crucial explanations of their context and intent.


Hans Christian Anderson is one man who always makes me child again. His stories take me to a world full of magic and fairies and princesses and princes! I have read these stories as a child. I still have the same affection for those stories. Thumbelina is my all time favorite. I had an opportunity to visit the small Danish town in CA in Winter of 2009. They have a small library devoted to Hans Anderson. It was wonderful to sit in the presence on the man whom I will always love and cherish as the greatest story teller of all times.

Brennan Wieland

I only read the snowman out of all of these stories as an assignment. This story tells of a newly built snowman trying to make sense of the world around him. The dog, living next to him in his kennel, tells him shortly of few things including the stove inside of the house. The snowman develops an unusual attraction to the stove, and longs to be next to the stove. The story ends with the winter passing and the people soon forgetting about the snowman. I wasn't left very satisfied at the end of this, since there wasn't much of an ending.


This book is many of fairy tales written by Hans Christian Anderson but revised a little by Tiina Nunnally. Many of Anderson's stories are about the journey and what happened on the way and why there is a journey. I've noticed that these stories have a happy ending but in a different way. I saw that some were selfish, and that the story only went well for the main character. In other stories the ending could end happily for two characters who fell in love or found a great friend ship. While others ended in the character dying but being happy for someone else that they have made such an impact on the persons life. Although these stories are happy Anderson always seems to keep a dark and unhappy moment in the story. There would seem to be most of the time that some character in the story would either have bad fortune or die. But wether it was the main character or not, that character always mattered in getting the main character to where they were in the end. I just think that shows that it's okay to die knowing you did something great for someone and helped them in the best way you could and they are what they are because of you. I would recommend this book to people who like short fictional stories with a great meaning. I would recommend it because it helped me look deeper into problems to uncover the real problem and watch the character define it though their lives. These stories also helped me understand great things can happen to people with what they would think is the worst life ever, as long as they would believe things would get better and they worked hard things would turn out all right. This book teaches anyone to work through their problems and persevere when times get rough.


I read Hans Christian Andersen on my iPad, Macsimus Tango. That means that the book listed here isn't the exact book that I read since I read Gutenberg's version, which is a collection of only a few dozen of the fairy tales. I put this book on my virtual bookshelf because this is the book that I put on my actual bookshelf since I ordered a version of the complete fairy tales from Amazon. My opinion is that if you read an important author then you should own all of the important works and you should give them their physical dignity upon your book shelf. As a technophile, I think virtual bookshelves are a troubling future. ANYWAYS...I will review Hans Christian Andersen based on the stories that I read. I give this book four stars because I think that the imagination of Hans Christian Andersen is profound and that the book is certainly a must read for any thinking person. The book shines light on 19th century Danish life that could not be otherwise entirely understood. In addition, the stories paint memorable pictures of what I and everybody else envisions when one conjures the term 'Fairy Tale'.The Emperor's New Clothes: This tale is wonderful. The moral is memorable. The style is characteristic of the fairy tale genre. I think the story works especially well concerning Andersen's perception of public image when considered with 'The Leap Frog,' 'The Swineherd,' 'The Real Princess,' or just about any other Anderson tale. There is an undeniable dichotomy in Andersen between what one should be and what one wants to be. Of all the tales with this message, I believe this is the best.The Fir Tree: If you want a depressing Christmas story, this is your wish. This story tells the sad tale of a tree's mistaken desires for his life and his ultimate coming to terms with his wrongly-made life's choices. My favorite part about this story wasn't the Fir Tree at all; it was the culturally informative background of the story. The Danish children decorating the tree, celebrating Christmas and enjoying the new Spring. This is a life I certainly didn't have and its peaceful quaintness charmed me although I could go without the band of household rats and mice.The Snow Queen: I heard lots about this story before I actually read it. And all that I heard was generally positive. My opinion was to the contrary. I felt that the story lacked direction and that it tended to wander unnecessarily. I thought the idea of a broken mirror was neat and that the relationship between the two children was memorable but the pages and pages of conversations with vegetation was mind numbing. This story was probably my least favorite of the bunch.The Little Match Girl: I had also heard about this story. I liked the imagery and I feel that the story could be well adapted into some form of visual art. The setting is so static yet the story is so diverse as we watch a freezing poor child attempt to stay warm in the light of a match's flame. Her thoughts are so vivid that they do seem to warm the reader. Now for the stranger stories.The Shadow: This story reminded me of Kafka. I would certainly like to know if good ole Franz ever read this story. The change of being and perspective in this story was quick, convincing and intelligent. I think there is a thesis in this story that investigates the pre-Marx master-servant relationship. I'd like to read this story again after I've been in the workforce for several years.The Bell: I think I see where Andersen was going here, but I think he failed. It was a boring story with too ambitious a message. What I read what unbelievable and rambling.The Story of a Mother: This story is historical proof that beer and ale were not originally mean to be frosty and cold. In this story, a man is nourished against the cold of winter by some ale put on the stove especially for him to warm. Naturally, the man enjoys it just like a modern beer commercial. I want to speak briefly of my favorite story - The Shoes of Fortune. This story is the earliest literary example of believable science fiction that I have read except for maybe the unbreakable glass of Petronius' Satyricon. I marveled at how Andersen showed how the Danish landscape of Copenhagen had changed so unmistakably over the centuries. This story is for any history lover and for anybody who enjoys watching a member of a culture attempt to define and understand his own culture. This story took a cultured gentleman of the 19th century into a barbarian past and takes a less cultured workman of the same century into the dystopia of the, for lack of a better word, Bourgeois. If you read Andersen, read this story because it is an edifying experience that should not be missed.In all, the book does not deserve five stars because some stories are just too boring and poorly articulated. Nevertheless, Hans is a must read.

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