Saturday, January 16, 2010

What My Child is Reading - January 16, 2010

I'm afraid we're still reading through the tales of Hans Christian Andersen. He wrote a lot of stories. Although they were written more than a century ago (in fact, nearly two centuries ago), many, if not most, of the central themes, are still relevant today.

So this week, we had some fun with Hans Christian Andersen, and took a look at more recent adaptations of his stories.

Thumbelina, retold and illustrated by Lauren Mills, is a softer, and shorter, version of the story, but still a little wordy for my youngest. All of the children appreciated the fanciful, water color illustrations. But, the older children were a disturbed, that every creature who met Thumbelina along the way either wanted to marry her, or marry her off.

The Little Mermaid, adapted by Rachel Isadora, is not the Disney "classic" many children are use to. It is a dark tale of unrequited love, and the desire for an eternal soul (theologically skewed, as it is). The illustrations are dramatic, and intriguing. The younger children were fascinated, and terrified by the depiction of the sea witch, while the older children thought the mermaids needed some clothing.

for sure! for sure!, illustrated by Stefan Czernecki, and translated by Mus White, was a new one to me. It is a story about the nature of gossip, set in a chicken coop. The younger children adored Czernecki's simply drawn, colorful chickens, but the message of the story went straight over their heads.

Dom DeLuise's The Nightingale, illustrated by Christopher Santoro, takes a lot of liberties with the story, while retaining the central message. The illustrations are terrifically fun. And, there is the bonus of two recipes, and a simple piano score of "The Nightingale's Song", for the children to try out.

The Dinosaur's New Clothes, by Diane Goode is also amusing. The story is clear, and the illustrations are busy, and fantastic. Needless to say, it was a big hit with the six year old boy of the house.

The Princess and The Pea, adapted by Rachel Isadora, stayed pretty true to the story, but through bright, and playful illustrations, changed the setting to Africa. There are also three different African greetings thrown in, just for fun.

My oldest daughter is reading The Princess Test,by Gail Carson Levine a short chapter book based on The Princess and The Pea. Levine is also the author of Ella Enchanted. From what my daughter has told me of it so far, it sounds very good. When she's finished with it, I think I'll read it myself.

And finally, we are still working our way through The Snow Queen, adapted by Naomi Lewis, and absolutely beautifully illustrated by Christian Birmingham. I'll let you know more about that, when we get to the end.

In the meantime, you can find even more recommendations, and reviews of children's literature, at the What My Child is Reading link up, hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Debbie said...

All your books sound great. I have heard about The Princess and The Pea, but we haven't read it yet.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

How fascinating to read about so many different adaptations of Andersen's work. I am curious - did any of them really appeal to your youngest? Mine is NOT good about even remotely scary or sad stories, and she never really warmed to either An Ugly Duckling or Thumbelina.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm finding the illustrations make or break the stories for the children. The Dinosaur's New Clothes, for example, was wonderful because of the depiction of Versailles - and there was a different fairy tale illustrated on each of the Emperor's outfits (except of course, the last).

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Wow, all of these sound so great... I'm such a fan of fairytales anyway, and while I normally don't like modernized adaptations, some of these really sound like they are worth reading. Thanks!

Ticia said...

I love fairy tales, but go back and forth on Hans Christian Anderson. He has great ideas, but they are so tragic. On the other hand that's the way a lot of the classic fairy tales are in their original form.