Parents' Guide to

Sylvia Long's Thumbelina

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Exquisite watercolors bring magic to this classic story.

Sylvia Long's Thumbelina Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Thumbelina may not be quite the assertive female character we would hope she would be, but she does hold her own. Though she is captured several times, and almost forced to marry first a toad then a mole, she manages to escape those fates and find a world where she fits in...and she marries the prince.  All of this happens because she is kind and good, and sensible. She is strong enough to survive for a while in the woods, and has feelings of loyalty for those who help her.  

The story is a good one, and told as Hans Christian Andersen meant it to be told. In fact, Sylvia Long's version follows the classical text fairly closely, and is
among the most beautifully illustrated. Her gorgeous
watercolors will absolutely take your breath away.  The many available musical, film, and written versions of Thumbelina span the gamut, from the classical tale with its Arthur Rackman illustrations to Disney and Barbie versions with bright, cartoonish illustrations and simplified storytelling. Versions readers, and art lovers, might also appreciate are those by Susan Jeffers, Brian Pinkney, and Brad Sneed. 

The artwork in this version of Thumbelina is among the best ever.  Pages overflow with flowers, butterflies, birds, and a magic that is both sensual and realistic. Dragonflies, goldfish, and the tiny den of the field mouse are particularly amazing.  And the final 3-panelled layout showing small people cupped in a garden of flowers is exquisite! Even without the words of Hans Christian Andersen, Sylvia Long's breath-taking watercolors create a stunning fairy world
sure to evoke the imaginations of readers of all ages.

Book Details

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