This new book of the time-old classic fairytale is written in beautiful flowing prose, fitting into that crossover niche between young child's picture book and paperback chapter book. This is a beautifully produced book in larger then A4 format, with multiple paragraphs of text and illustrations on every page. There are lots of full page and double page imagery (pastels I think?) and they are timeless and evocative sweeping you into stunningly atmospheric winter in the main though there is also a more gloriously rich summer interlude. The jacket of the hardback is a lovely touch - clear acetate with snowflake through which the Snow Queen gazes from the hard cover.
Inside the crisp white and soft misty colours provide an enchanting accompaniment to this age-old tale written in the mid-19th century. This version seems true to the original with seven sections unlike the much abbreviated forms you usually find in picture book format these days. These are
Part 1 Which tells of the Looking-Glass and its Splinters,
Part 2 A Little Boy and a Little Girl,
Part 3 The Enchanted Flower Garden of the Old Woman Who Understood Magic,
Part 4 Prince and Princess,
Part 5 The Little Robber Girl,
Part 6 The Lapland Woman and the Finmark Woman,
Part 7 What Happened at the Snow Queen's Palace and What Took Place After That.
In a nutshell a child called Kaye's heart is pierced by a fragment of the devil's mirror which turns good to evil, beautiful to ugly. The Snow queen takes him away in her sledge, stunningly beautiful like the Narnian white witch, and keeps him in her freezing power. Kaye's close friend Gerda sets out to find him, journeying through her own varied adventures, and save him.
As with the CS Lewis series, there's an Christian element intertwined into the story though it's not too explicit. There's the struggle between good and evil, God and the angels versus the devil and his evil mirror, with a couple of references to the Christ-child and the Lord's prayer. If you look deeper there's the also perhaps a strength of faith helping Gerda win through to rescue Kaye.
This book is beautiful to look at and this longer length and truer version of the classic story is perfect for a 6+ girl. I don't hesitate recommend it: a perfect Christmas present!