Friday, January 24, 2014

The Snow Queen

I haven't seen the movie Frozen yet.  Charlotte has and loved it- she's 5, so of course!  I know Disney always changes the fairy tales and this one doesn't even remotely resemble Andersen's classic.  Which is too bad since Madeleine and I have always said that the story of a young girl, "Gerda" facing danger and meeting all sorts of magical adventures to save her friend, "Kai" would make a good children's movie, and a nice departure from the "princess" stories.

We have the original story by Anderson which was mailed to Madeleine by her friend Hayley years ago.  How fun to have a book sent to you this way!

 The Snow Queen and Other Tales
Hans Christian Andersen
A Greeting Card Book 1969

Gerda and Kai are children, and the best of friends.  But one day Kai hitches his sled to the back of the Snow Queen's sleigh and in no time he is wisked away from his home, forgetting all about Gerda.  Gerda then goes in search of her playmate.  She gets help from the river and flowers and animals, she meets an old woman who tries to keep her as her own and a young prince and princess who aid her in her search.  At one point a band of robbers captures her and she is saved and befriended by a little robber-maid.  Off on a reindeer she heads to the most northern place to find the Snow Queen's palace.  When she finally finds Kai, he is like ice and only Gerda's love and kisses melt his heart and bring him back. 

 The Snow Queen
Hans Christian Andersen
translated by Marlee Alex
Illustrated by Uwe Hantsch 1988
We also have an illustrated version that uses the story as a basis for teaching biblical values.  There is a "study key" in the back that applies scripture verses to the themes of the story.  And the introduction writes:  "From his early childhood in the town of Odense, Denmark, until his death in Copenhagen, Hans Christian Andersen had a valid Christian faith that manifested itself in many of the approximately 150 stores and tales he wrote.  In one of them, he said:  'In every human life, whether poor or great, there is an invisible thread that shows we belong to God.'  The thread in Andersen's stories is one of optimism which has given hope and inspiration to people all over the world."

I just think the pictures in this edition are pretty wild!

Eileen Kernaghan 2000

In the Young Adult genre is Eileen Kernaghan's retelling of the Snow Queen.  She does a wonderful job of really developing Gerda's character and building a story with the robber-girl that she befriends (Kernaghan names her "Rivka").   And the story becomes about the angst of growing up and finding out who you are, what you are capable of.  It's a bit different in spirit from the original, but still retains the magic and fantasy of the story.  I really loved it and have been trying to get Madeleine to read it because I think she would too.   


  1. Susan Jeffers-Amy Ehrlich also have a remarkable version of the Snow Queen story. Check it out if you encounter it somewhere.

  2. I love your blog! Btw, there IS an enchanting animated movie of The Snow Queen, done in 1957 by some Russian animation company. I saw it dubbed in English as a young girl and was blown away. The whole movie is here on YouTube! Once you get past the annoying intro by Art Linkletter, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It really captured all those true emotions.

    1. Thanks for the tip- I'll have to check it out!