Something purely coincidental happened to me last week….I found my favorite picture book adaptation of The Snow Queen when I wasn’t even looking for it!
When I first chose The Snow Queen, I had a lasting image in my head of a picture book I read as a child, but I couldn’t remember for the life of me who it was by. Just that I loved the illustrations and the vibrancy of the pictures. Last week, I was helping my friend gather stuff from her house (the one I’m moving into!) and wouldn’t you know what I happened to find upon her shelves?
The Snow Queen adapted by Mary Engelbreit…the EXACT book from my childhood!
The Snow Queen is a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1845. It is a tale the centers on the struggle of good and evil as experienced by a little boy and girl, Kai and Gerda. The tale is told in seven stories that weave together, and it is one of Andersen’s longest fairy tales.
Mary Engelbreit is an illustrator, well-known for her children’s books and artwork which is featured on many products.
Engelbreit’s picture book follows the The Snow Queen perfectly. She takes Andersen’s story and simply illustrates it with her signature drawings and explosion of color.
So as not to veer from Andersen’s telling, the picture book is also told in seven stories, clearly labeled and titled.
Why I love it
When I was a kid, this book stood out to me. I honestly think it was the way Engelbreit approached her drawings and expressed the story in illustrations. Her artwork is vibrant in color and very eye-catching. Plus, I love her simple style, and the way she creates her characters.
As for a picture book, this one is slightly longer than normal. Since Andersen’s tale is pretty long, it’s hard to adapt it without losing important parts of the story. With that said, this book runs about 50 pages in length, and not every page is a full illustration. The beginning of each story includes a full illustration, and then Engelbreit breaks up the wording with small pictures.
My favorite comes near the end of the story, when Gerda finds Kay and helps him break free.
Doesn’t this image just melt your heart? Because it does mine. As I reached this page during my reread, I’ll be honest… I started to tear up a little bit. Even though I’ve read this story several times over the last few months, the ending always moves me. It’s just a beautiful story, and Engelbreit’s illustrations only make it better.
Book Talk: What do you think of this adaptation? Would it be a picture book you would pick up for your kids? What do you like about the illustration?