Swan lake

Lisbeth Zwerger

Book - 2002

A prince's love for a swan queen overcomes an evil sorcerer's spell in this fairy tale adaptation of the classic ballet.

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Fairy tales
Picture books
New York : North-South Books 2002.
Item Description
"A Michael Neugebauer Book."
Based on Tchaikovsky's original 1877 ballet.
Physical Description
22 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Main Author
Lisbeth Zwerger (-)
Other Authors
Marianne Martens (-), Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, 1840-1893
Review by Booklist Reviews

Gr. 2-4. Confessing in an appended note that she had approached Swan Lake with mixed feelings because of its tragic conclusion, Zwerger found that her research supported a happier ending, based on Tchaikovsky's original version of the ballet in 1877. In this picture book, Zwerger offers a series of subtle, delicate paintings illustrating that story. Decorated with swans, boughs, and other figures and flourishes, a few bars of music appear on each left-hand page above the text, offering a musical context for each scene. Facing are large, bordered paintings that illustrate part of the story. Their magical yet somber tone and muted colors suit the many night settings. The delicately composed artwork also has surreal touches, such as the thundercloud that enters the ballroom above the villains' heads, and the swan's-head effects sometimes created with the swan queen's hands. Some of the finest pictures are compositions in black, white, and many shades of gray. Told with drama and illustrated with grace, this is a handsome interpretation of the story. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Drawing from the original 1877 ballet by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky, which has a happy ending (unlike the more familiar, tragic 1893 version), Lisbeth Zwerger retells and illustrates Swan Lake, trans. by Marianne Martens. Her signature gauzy watercolors, framed in white borders, follow the prince from the eve of the prince's 18th birthday (Zwerger foreshadows events as one couple dances in the distance, while the solo prince links arms with a chain of guests) through the transformation of the Swan Queen and her friends, as they change from their human forms back into birds. These metamorphoses take on an eerily sensual quality; Zwerger creates the sensation that readers are intruders on a private moment.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3-6-This smooth retelling of the classic ballet is accompanied by evocative watercolor illustrations that use form, color, and shape to convey its enchantment. Dominated by blue, green, and gray backgrounds, the art captures the sweep of the lake, the wonder of the transformation of swans to maidens, and the darkness of betrayal. The "first" ending leaves the fate of the lovers ambiguous, but with a turn of the page, readers learn that the prince and the Swan Queen were married, and the bridesmaids "were reluctant to wear white dresses with feather trim-." An author's note explains why Zwerger chose this new happy ending, and it is up to readers to decide if they can accept it. Whatever their reaction, this version of Swan Lake deserves a place on the shelves with the one by Margot Fonteyn (Harcourt, 1993), illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, and the more recent version by Adèle Geras (David & Charles, 2001).-Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A glorious picture-book adaptation of perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time about the enchanted swan princess is based on Tchaikovsky's original 1877 version with the happy ending.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A prince's love for a swan queen overcomes an evil sorcerer's spell in this fairy tale adaptation of the classic ballet.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

One of the best-loved ballets of all time is adapted by illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger for this glorious picture book. Basing her version on Tchaikovsky's original 1877 ballet, which had a happy ending unlike the later, more well-known 1893 version, Zwerger tells the haunting story of an enchanted swan princess with lyrical grace and beauty. Full-color illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Swan Lake is perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Hans Christian Andersen Medal-winner Lisbeth Zwerger brings her singular vision to a glorious picture-book adaptation of the haunting story of an enchanted swan princess. She has based her version on Tchaikovsky's original 1877 ballet, which had a happy ending, unlike the later, better-known, 1893 version. Her illustrations, luminous, lyrical, filled with grace and beauty, evoke the brilliance of the ballet and the universal appeal of this beloved fairy tale.