Hans Christian Anderson: The Snow Queen

THE SNOW QUEEN
by Hans Christian Anderson
narrated by Julia Whelan
(classic, fairy tale, children’s fiction)

This was the 2014 gift to members from Audible.com, and unlike the 2013 gift (CRICKET ON THE HEARTH) I adored this one. The narration was beautifully suited to the tale, it was well-produced, and the story is one that I have loved ever since I can remember. It has, however, been ages since I last read THE SNOW QUEEN, so I’m glad to have been gifted the audiobook to listen to. (I also like that Audible does an annual free book at Christmastime. It feels nice that they acknowledge their listeners in that way. It’s the little things, sometimes.)

Anyway… back to the book review. I love this story. It’s one of my favorite fairy tales, in part because it’s not like the traditional Grimm’s tales we grow up with here in the US. I like that the Snow Queen herself isn’t necessarily evil. She’s cold, yes, but that’s her nature. But the thing that the children are up against isn’t some monster: it’s an evil way of perceiving the world.

It is a bit more of a religious story than I remember (but that makes it appropriate for Christmastime, and it also fits in the time period in which it was written). However, many fairy tales have the innocence and/or purity and/or faith of the heroines (or heroes) as the main power that they have to vanquish the evil. So it isn’t really any stretch to make this one have a touch more of a religious theme than most.

And I don’t think any current review of THE SNOW QUEEN by Disney fans can neglect to touch on Disney’s “Frozen”. I’ll keep it short and sweet, though. I love THE SNOW QUEEN. I love “Frozen”. But they are two different stories. Disney may have used THE SNOW QUEEN as a starting point for “Frozen”, but it is not a retelling of the source story. I am very glad they didn’t use the fairy tale’s name to name the movie, because it isn’t the same story. There are enough things that I could point to as similarities (as a very basic starting point, the movie uses ice in the head/heart vs the book’s shard of glass in the eye/heart). But they are different stories. And as such, I can enjoy both without detracting from the other.

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