When I was eight, someone gifted me a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” because I loved the Disney version so much. This would be the equivalent of giving someone who loves animals a taxidermied bunny. For those who don’t know, the mermaid DIES at the end. Oh, don’t act like I spoiled it for you. That mermaid has been dead for 179 years. Hans Christian Andersen is an amazing storyteller. He’s the Tim Burton of the 19th century. But, he is NOT a children’s writer.
Book Review: “The Fir Tree” by Hans Christian Andersen
“The Fir Tree” is a short story about a tree who is never happy and always wants more. When it is small, it wants to be big. When it is big, it wants to be cut and to see where all the other cut trees go. In the end, the tree realizes that it should have enjoyed its life while it was living it, too late. It’s a traditional the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side type story, with a morbid twist. It would make a great high school graduation gift. This edition, with illustrations by Sanna Annukka, especially, as it is beautifully bound in green fabric and gold leafing. It’s also small enough to fit in a stocking.
When I ordered this book, I thought it might be a nice story for my 4-year-old; because, I’m generally full of horrible ideas. Like that time we thought letting him watch Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was a good idea and then had to explain that they were burning Darth Vader’s “suit” because he didn’t need it anymore. Fortunately, level heads prevailed and I reconsidered the idea after reading “The Fir Tree” myself. Children are very literal. My son wouldn’t understand the metaphor and would only see the violent death of a tree. Honestly, I would like to continue being able to buy Christmas trees each year. As an adult, I enjoyed the story for what it is, a moral fable with beautiful illustrations that gave me pause in my crazy day to look beyond the milk stains and mess and enjoy my life.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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