Synopses & Reviews
and#160; With her signature warmth and lyricism, Newbery winner Cynthia Rylant has crafted a new version of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a tin soldier who falls in love with a ballerina. As in the original story, the tin soldierand#8217;s love for the beautiful ballerina is thwarted by a goblin. The tin soldier is separated from the other toys and washed down a sewer, where he encounters a rat and gets swallowed by a fish, but somehow, against all odds, he manages to end up back home only to be cast into the nursery fire. Rylant adds her own twist to the end of the tale, however, for in this version, the tin soldier and the ballerina are melded to each other, rather than melted, in the heat of the fire, so theyand#8217;ll never be parted again. Rylantand#8217;s expert storytelling paired with Coraceand#8217;s stunning illustrations create a beautiful, unforgettable tale of everlasting love.
Praise for The Steadfast Tin Soldier
"Rylant preserves the story's character-building insistence on the soldier's decorum throughout his ordeal. At the same time, the sight of him in his dress uniform, bayonet at the ready, lodged upside down in a garden bed or lying patiently in the belly of the huge fish will make readers smile."
and#151;Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Gracefully written... The bookand#8217;s large format gives plenty of scope for Coraceand#8217;s distinctive illustrations, precise ink drawings brightened with watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paints. Sometimes brilliantly colorful and sometimes more subdued, the scenes can be crowded with dozens of toys or other visual elements, but they show up well from a distance. The subtle depictions of the goblin and his shadow are particularly fine. A softened vision of the literary fairy tale."
"The distinctive illustrations capture both the storyand#8217;s melodrama and playful appeal, such as when two boys salute the tin soldier as his newspaper boat speeds along the fast-moving gutter stream. This spirited retelling reinvigorates this classic tale."
and#151;School Library Journal
"Rylant is an appealing storyteller, and though she lets the soldier stay and#147;forevermoreand#8221; with the little dancer, that romantic outcome may suit those who find the Daneand#8217;s bittersweet ending hard to bear."
"Corace uses a largely pastel-color palette to match the authorand#8217;s words. Mixed media flesh out the story. Their work together provides a powerful presentation in this oversize picture book. This is an excellent choice to compare with other versions of the classic tale."
and#151;Library Media Connection
One of the most original and gifted of children's book illustrators has once again brought forth a unique vision for an age-old tale. Zelinsky's retelling of "Rapunzel" captures the possessiveness, confinement, and separation of a late 17th-century French tale by Mlle. la Force, where a mother powerfully resists her child's inevitable growth. Full color. 1998 Caldecott Award.
Surely among the most original and gifted of children's book illustrators, Paul O. Zelinsky has once again with unmatched emotional authority, control of space, and narrative capability brought forth a unique vision for an age-old tale. Few artists at work today can touch the level at which his paintings tell a story and exert their hold.
Zelinsky's retelling of Rapunzel reaches back beyond the Grimms to a late-seventeenth-century French tale by Mlle. la Force, who based hers on the Neapolitan tale Petrosinella in a collection popular at the time. The artist understands the story's fundamentals to be about possessiveness, confinement, and separation, rather than about punishment and deprivation. Thus the tower the sorceress gives Rapunzel here is not a desolate, barren structure of denial but one of esoteric beauty on the outside and physical luxury within. And the world the artist creates through the elements in his paintings the palette, control of light, landscape, characters, architecture, interiors, costumes speaks to us not of an ugly witch who cruelly imprisons a beautiful young girl, but of a mother figure who powerfully resists her child's inevitable growth, and of a young woman and man who must struggle in the wilderness for the self-reliance that is the true beginning of their adulthood.
As ever, and yet always somehow in newly arresting fashion, Paul O. Zelinsky's work thrillingly shows us the events of the story while guiding us beyond them to the truths that have made it endure.
About the Author
Cynthia Rylant is a two-time Newbery winner and the author of more than 100 books for children, including All in a Day. Jen Corace received her BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated a number of childrenand#8217;s books, including Little Pea. Visit her at jencorace.com.