FICTION

Thumbelina

adapted by Elizabeth James. illus. by Kelly Vivanco. 48p. Simply Read Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781927018736.
COPY ISBN
Gr 1–4—This retelling follows the tale of the tiny flower-sized girl as she hopes for meaningful companionship and someone "as tiny as she." The universal theme of not being alone in the world will resonate with all readers. The mint green cover with a peek-a-boo cutout shows a portrait of Thumbelina, eyes closed in despair, and sets the melancholy mood of this version of the famous tale. The textual adaptation is modern and clear but is secondary to Vivanco's artistic vision for the story. Using acrylic on canvas, the artist creates layered and stunning visual portraits, but the decision to make Thumbelina larger than life and to often fill the entire page, along with the animals she meets on her journey, serves to minimize the impact on readers of Thumbelina's diminutive size. The endpapers are the best symbolic expression of Thumbelina's plight, given her miniature size and the overpowering larger world represented by the partially visible tree trunk, forest greenery and various insects placed throughout the scene for scale and comparison. Readers can sense the length and difficulty of her voyage to reach her community.
VERDICT This version of the fairy tale could be purchased for larger collections and would be best enjoyed one-on-one as an opportunity to luxuriate in the beautiful artwork.

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