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Swineherd, The

by Andersen

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From Publishers Weekly
It's probably the pinnacle of cheek to revise the works of a master like Andersen, but author/artist Hahn takes the gamble and wins. In her version, "Hans" narrates while a motley assortment of players (children, pigs and pets)--captured in sprightly, delicately colored drawings--act out the classic fairy tale. Their often humorous running commentary provides a visual counterpoint to the familiar story of the rejected prince who disguises himself as a swineherd and ultimately dumps a fickle princess. Here, however, the tale's ending causes a commotion, and after tears and a heated debate the characters submit a rewrite--"with all due respect, Hans." The final few pages picture a repentant swineherd/prince giving the humbled princess a second chance, vindicating any reader who has ever been unhappy with a book's original ending. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-- There are really three stories here. The simplified Andersen narrative is set into a frame story about how he wrote and told the tale to a group of children and animals (lots of pigs, of course). A second story takes place in the illustrations as those children and swine act it out. Finally, at the end of the ``play,'' the tearful actors insist on a rewrite that unites prince and princess in a truly happy ending. Hahn's illustrations, outlined in soft black and then done in muted browns, yellows, and greens, are reminiscent of Margot Zemach's work, although not as consistently effective. There is a certain childlike quality that is initially appealing, but all too often, crowded composition and the awkward placement of dialogue within the pictures may confuse and annoy readers; it detracts from the core story and also fails to develop the sense of ``play-acting.'' Overall, while the approach is fresh and creative, Hahn doesn't fully integrate the various elements seamlessly. Despite its flaws, this title will be useful in whole language classrooms and in libraries where there is an interest in alternate tellings of standard tales. --Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Distressed by this classic's uncompromising conclusion, Hahn sets it in an appealing frame: Andersen himself tells it to a group of young friends (most of whom are pigs), who act it out in the illustrations--which also contain amusing additional dialogue--as he goes along. At the end, his audience agrees that: it's ``unbearable,'' ``unjust,'' ``he couldn't have meant it,'' etc., and they continue their play, through mutual apologies from the prince and princess to a happy alternative ending. Andersen's text may be considered sacrosanct, yet Hahn, creatively and with sensitivity, has addressed a common reaction to it. Only the original story appears conventionally as text here, and, while it has been shortened a bit, the translation is unusually lively, accessible, and in its author's spirit. Meanwhile, the tenderly drawn, informal illustrations suggest that, ``with all due respect,'' the story could be more open- ended. ``The Swineherd'' is still capable of standing on its own, with or without illustrations, and does so in many editions. Without detracting from these, Hahn suggests that it's all right to wonder about the story, and provides a gentle setting for thoughtful discussion. (Picture book. 5-10) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Language Notes
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish

Card catalog description
A prince disguises himself as a swineherd and learns the true character of the princess he desires.



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