'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 10 May 2012

Review: The Story of the Snow Children

Little Poppy is alone in the house. She is gazing out at the falling snow when she notices something - the snowflakes are dancing as they fall!

"Come out and play!" the snowflakes call, and Poppy is stunned to see they are really teensy snow children, promising to take Poppy to see the Snow Queen.

Without hesitation, Poppy dons her best red coat and races outside. I mean, who wouldn't?

When Poppy arrives at the Snow Queen's castle, it's a special day - a festival and enormous feast is being held in honour of the Princess's birthday. Snowy white chocolate and sweet ice-cold tea is being served by snowmen, and Poppy is guest of honour alongside the Princess.

After the feast, Poppy goes walking with the Princess, through a garden shimmering with icicles, then it's dancing in the lantern-lit great ice hall - and very soon, all the excitement becomes too much for Poppy. Seeing her face, the Queen orders her snowman to drive the little girl home where her mother is warmly waiting for her.

There are no bells and whistles, surprises or twists in this classic picture book, penned by this Prussian author/illustrator. Born in a castle in East Prussia in 1881, von Olfers trained at art college and shunned the 'useless world of the aristocrats', instead preferring to hone her craft. At 25, she joined the Sisters of Saint Elisabeth, taught art at a local school, and wrote and illustrated several children's books. Tragically, she died at just 34 of a lung infection.

It's easy to see why von Olfer's work has been compared to Elsa Beskow and Kate Greenaway. Her simple, classic, highly imaginative stories also put me in mind of Enid Blyton's magical stories that take children into other worlds.

Divine illustrations in whimsical colours are a true delight to meander over, and although the storyline is simple, the voice of von Olfer's work is so lovely to read.


Find this beautiful book at Footprint Books.

Title: The Story of the Snow Children
Author/Illustrator: Sibylle Von Olfers
Publisher: Floris Books, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: July 2007
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780863154997
For ages: 4 - 10
Type: Picture Book