I was sent “Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen” by Parragon Books to review. I really love this book. It is so beautifully bound and the pictures are lovely. I first read the Little Mermaid to my daughter who was captivated by the story, which is true to the original in that it does not have a happy ending. The little mermaid is taken away to be an angel (so dies) and doesn’t get to be with her prince. I found myself welling up as I read the end of the story to her. I had the same thing reading the Fir Tree which my son asked to be read. Such a sad story, but I found it quite interesting. After I finished reading the story I explained to my son who is 7 years old about morals and how some stories have “a moral” – ie a meaning that is expressed through the storytelling. I explained how the moral of the story for the Fir Tree was that you should enjoy the time that you are living in – not constantly wanting to be bigger or older or for time to go past. I explained how the Fir tree in the end was sad about how he had wished his time away when he was in the beautiful forest with all the other trees.
Do children need happy endings? I think some of the time it is good for them to hear a happy story but I definitely think there is a place for the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. It gives them a sense of the real world and that life isn’t always the way you want it to be. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of the stories when the kids are with me this weekend and next week.
I highly recommend this book for Christmas or birthdays or just buy it because you fancy it.