The familiar Andersen tale is given a sprightly retelling and illustrations filled with gleaming flora and fauna. The story moves along with much of the extraneous description cut as Thumbelina leaves her parents' home, is kidnapped by the toads, stays with the maybugs, and then sojourns with Mrs. Fieldmouse, who plays matchmaker with Thumbelina and the Man in Gray, a pompous, blinking Mole. Thumbelina, with her curly blond hair and wide-eyed look, resembles a paper doll, and sometimes is as stiff. But her surroundings are gorgeous, and Ibatoulline, using acryl gouache and watercolor, shows his skills in the intricate detail of a butterfly's wing, blowing reeds, or a mouse's fur. Librarians wanting to add to their Andersen collections won't be disappointed. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
K-Gr 2—Alderson's version of this oft-retold tale clips along at a breezy pace, retaining most of Andersen's detail. It heightens the role of the swallow a bit, identifying him at the outset as the narrator, in addition to his central role in liberating Thumbelina. "'That's where it all started,' said the swallow. That's where the woman went off to see the local witch. She wanted a baby real bad and thought the witch could help." And so, of course, the witch did help, giving the woman a barleycorn to plant in a pretty pot. Ibatoulline's fulsome paintings offer bold views of the natural world and the animals that the blond doll-like Thumbelina encounters. Most of the semi-realistic creatures have a cheerful semblance, though two of them—who are actually quite benign in the story—are a bit grotesque. The maybugs that carry Thumbelina off to their tree for a bit and the spiders who weave her wedding dress are drawn as very toothy animals. All look as if they're wearing prominent dentures. The large views and well-paced text will work well for reading aloud in group settings. The book stands nicely with editions by other artists, tellers, and translators.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston [Page 77]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
A warm, witty, accessible retelling by an esteemed children's book author of the treasured classic about a girl no bigger than a thumb, featuring luminous illustrations by the acclaimed artist of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.Review by Publisher Summary 2
A tiny girl no bigger than a thumb is stolen by a great ugly toad and subsequently has many adventures and makes many animal friends, before finding the perfect mate in a warm and beautiful southern land.Review by Publisher Summary 3
Luminous illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline combine with Brian Alderson’s wry retelling for a gorgeous gift edition of a well-loved tale.A childless woman visits a witch who gives her a barleycorn — and hidden in its bloom is a tiny girl. For one so small, Thumbelina’s life is full of misadventures as she floats through the pages like a wisp on the wind, encountering kind and unkind creatures in succession. But old Mrs. Toad with her "rek-kek-kek" and the alarming Man in Gray cannot crush her spirits, and Thumbelina’s gentle concern for a winged soul in need paves the way to her freedom and happiness. In a warm, witty retelling accessible to younger children, Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of a girl no bigger than a thumb is lavishly illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Showcasing art evocative of Victorian storybooks — with a touch of the dreamlike Rousseau — this is truly a breathtaking edition of a treasured classic.