Sunday, October 25, 2015
THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES is a graphic novel anthology consisting of two Hans Christian Andersen adaptations and one new and original story by the authors. The stories in the book are:
"The Red Shoes" – a poor girl named Karen loves to dance. Karen loves to dance. At her mother's funeral, Karen is presented with a beautiful pair of red shoes. When Karen moves in with her aunt, her aunt throws the shoes away. She then buys Karen a new wardrobe of clothes, including a beautiful pair of red shoes. However, an evil shoe shiner curses the shoes and Karen begins dancing and is unable to stop.
"The Glass Case" – this is an original story by Metaphrog. A young boy named Sam falls in love with a beautiful doll in a museum. The doll is actually alive and Sam begins spending more and more time with her. Sam's father beats him and he is picked by other children for his unusual interests. He makes plans to run away and start a new life.
"The Match Girl" – this is one of Hans Christian Andersen's more famous stories. A young girl lives alone with her abusive father. Her job is to sell matches to people. However, on one cold winter day, the young girl is unable to sell any matches and knows if she returns home without having sold any matches, she will be beaten. To keep warm in the cold, she lights a match and magical things begin to happen.
While the illustrations in THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES aren't spectacular, they do a great job of capturing the mood of each one of the stories. With that said, these stories really aren't for kiddies. Hans Christian Andersen is known for his "fairy tales", but very few of his fairy tales are actual fairy tales. Good doesn't always conquer evil in his stories and sometimes there are no lessons to be learned. For instance, in Andersen's "The Little Mermaid", the Little Mermaid doesn't get the prince to fall in love with her and she returns to the sea and dissolves in foam. "The Red Shoes" can be viewed as a lesson against pride and greed, but Karen really isn't a very prideful or greedy person; she just likes to dance and for some reason really likes red shoes. "The Match Girl" hasn't done a single thing wrong and what ultimately happens to her might be viewed as a blessing, but it's incredibly dark and depressing. "The Glass Case" is an original story, but it's just as dark and depressing as any of Andersen's tales.
That's not to say I didn't like THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES because I did. However, readers should be aware that these aren't light stories and some very violent things happen. Overall, the book is a nice visual adaptation of the stories with illustrations that do a good job of capturing the tone and mood of the stories.