I’ve always loved reading the work of Hans Christian Andersen. Admittedly, some of his takes I find annoying or ridiculous, but tales such as The Little Mermaid and Thumbelina have always held a special place in my heart. While I’ll definitely say that some of his stories haven’t aged well, namely the ones in which women are merely objects to be won and married, others have been immortalized over the years and for very good reason. For me, Heinz Janisch’s–illustrated by Maja Kastelic–Hans Christian Andersen The Journey of His Life is a beautiful, cotton candy whimsical-esque biography for all ages.
Andersen refers to his life as a fairytale of its own. He is always filled with magic and whimsy, and this shines through expertly in this very fanciful collection of pages. You truly feel as though you are taking a journey into the mind of this incredible storyteller as he relates the truths of his life to a young girl whilst sharing a carriage journey together.
The illustrations are perfect for the story that the author weaves, capturing the true essence of the man and the work that he gave to the world. It also does an exceptional job of keeping readers engaged and will do well, I think, at capturing the attention of young readers in addition to adults. In many ways, you feel brought along on a magical journey through important moments and different fairytales as the story progresses. It’s almost as though you are riding along in a flying trunk.
I had a great time reading this book. Though I will say that it is not something I imagine myself reading often, it is definitely the sort of book I think would be fun to have around when I have children. Hans Christian Andersen gave the world a great deal of joy from his stories and I do not doubt that he will continue to do so for longer than I could fathom.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.