Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The whimsical, often astonishingly complex paper cuttings executed by Hans Christian Andersen serve as the subject as well as the principal illustrations of this attractively designed book. Striking cutouts, typically from white or light-colored paper, are set off by dramatic black backgrounds. A succinct text outlines the major events in Andersen's life, from his childhood in a slum of Odense to his later career as a celebrated writer. As Brust emphasizes, Andersen's paper cuttings were an integral part of his storytelling performances: he cut while he spoke, unfolding a finished piece at the end of his tale. A final chapter describes some of Andersen's paper-cutting techniques and discusses the history of that art form. An intriguing glimpse of the famous author's lesser-known talent. Ages 7-9. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A fine short biography with an unusual focus: Andersen made hundreds (perhaps thousands) of whimsical, intricate paper cuttings incorporating many of the same images that appeared in his fairy tales--swans, princesses, angels, castles, dancers. Cut freehand with an enormous pair of scissors, usually from plain white paper, many of these creations were made while Andersen held audiences spellbound with his storytelling. A surprising number survive; 33 are illustrated here. Brust finds parallels between Andersen's literary innovations and the unconventionality of his paper cuttings, so different from the black silhouette portraiture that was popular at the time. Clearly and gracefully written, a fascinating introduction to a little-known aspect of Andersen's talent and an excellent resource for extending a literature unit into art. Meticulous captioning, detailed indexing, and an extensive bibliography (with some sources accessible to young readers) are welcome signs of high scholarly standards; the volume's elegant design is by David Saylor. (Biography. 7-11)
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