Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Young Hans Christian Andersen

The Young Hans Christian Andersen

Karen Hesse
Illustrator:  Erik Blegvad 
For ages 7 to 10
Scholastic, 2005   ISBN: 978-0439679909

The son of a shoemaker Hans Christian Andersen was a little boy whose head was full of stories and dreams. His humble beginnings disappeared when he imagined himself in a life where money, good food, and comfort is there for the asking. Among other things he imagined castles and "an angel with swan wings and a voice like a river."  Poor Hans Christian imagined so well sometimes that the realities of the real world often hurt him deeply and he would hide inside himself to get away from it all.

As he grow up Hans develops a love for the theatre, a form of storytelling which captured his imagination and fed his spirit. However, at home, there was always hardship, suffering and loss. Everyone in the village wondered if this boy, with his head full of dreams and with the voice of a nightingale, would be able to find his place in the world.

Delightful descriptions written in a style not unlike Hans Christian Andersen?s own make this little collection of biographical vignettes a joy to read. Readers who are familiar with Hans? famous tales will come to see that events in his own life were the inspiration for such tales as The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Ugly Duckling, and The Nightingale.

Erik Blegvad has created charming ink and watercolor illustrations which give the reader warm glimpses into Hans' life and of life in Denmark in the 1800?s