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Red Shoes and Other Tales, The Hardcover – 10 Nov 2015
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"Hope, joy, and pain intermingle in these dark, alluring stories, which may leave readers thinking of Andersen as a precursor to modern horror." - Publishers Weekly
"A darkly pensive read, perfect for chilly fall evenings." — Kirkus Reviews
"Three timeless stories receive visually beautiful and cogent treatment in this comics collection... Though the simplicity of line and verbal content are both elegant and accessible, the combination of fairly unhappy endings and pleasant yet wooden expressions cultivates an eerie, vaguely unsettling atmosphere. A worthwhile addition to collections of graphic adaptations of classic works." - Booklist
"Wonderful work wonderfully presented and highly recommended!" - Paul Gravett
"Metaphrog have a blisteringly huge amount of talent and it’s been poured into this collection with heart and gusto. Mark our words, just watch this win a ton of awards." - Read It Daddy!
"The Red Shoes has been a classic cautionary tale of desires and responsibilities for generations, and here it is interpreted wonderfully, a mixture of pathos and delight, magical wonder and dark undercurrents." - Forbidden Planet Blog
"Their art has a delicate line that reminds me of Charles Vess, but their faces are unique, almost doll-like, adding to the creepy feel of the stories." - The Jean Little Library
"The Red Shoes And Other Tales is a beautiful book by Metaphrog telling three bittersweet stories that really are suitable for all ages." - Down the Tubes
"A beautiful but haunting fairy tale brought to stunning visual life." - Broken Frontier
About the Author
Metaphrog are John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs. Together they have been creating graphic novels since 1996. Their Louis series has received several Eisner and Ignatz Award nominations and critical acclaim worldwide, while Louis - Night Salad was Highly Commended for the Scottish Children's Book Awards. John is from Scotland, and Sandra grew up in France, before moving to Britain. Their meeting was a catalyst, and within a few months they created Metaphrog. They regularly travel to give talks and workshops on comics and their working methods. They have also produced commissioned graphic novels and illustrations for a variety of clients. Last year, they were named as one of Canongate's Future 40 best contemporary Scottish Storytellers. Follow them on Twitter @metaphrog and visit www.metaphrog.com.
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"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.
There once was a young girl, who was pretty but poor. So poor she had to go barefoot. Her name was Karen and she loved to dance. When Karen becomes an orphan, her great aunt takes her in. One day on a shopping trip, she is bought a beautiful pair of red shoes. The shoes magically come to life and steer Karen down a path she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams, or nightmares. This fresh take on the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Red Shoes” is a tale of hope, obsession and guilt, retold and lavishly illustrated by multiple-Eisner award nominated creators Metaphrog. Also included is an adaptation of Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” and an original story, “The Glass Case”.
I can’t believe I’ve never read the two Andersen stories. I’m seriously deficient in the classics. I get the gist of the tales from this graphic novel, but I’ll still want to read the actual books someday. The Glass Case is an original and it's not bad. The artwork is ok. It’s not horrible, but I wasn’t wowed either. All-in-all it’s an enjoyable way to spend the 20 minutes or so it takes to read it.