As the inscription on the inside cover can attest, I got this book when I was 4 years old. I don’t know if I could read it at that age. I don’t know if I loved it at that age. My memory of that age is spotty at best. But what I can tell you is that I remember my mom reading it to me. And that at some point in my life I could read it. And that I loved this book and still do.
This story is one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. It is a beautiful fairy tale about a little girl, her brothers, and their stepmother (I’ll give you one guess who the villain is). The brothers are cursed and to lift the curse the little girl has to make them shirts from nettles, and she cannot speak until the task is completed.
It’s truly about a young girl who loves her brothers so much that she is willing to sacrifice anything to save them. Her commitment and hard work pay off. But not without a price.
This is not a short fairy tale. And for younger kids it may take a few readings before the whole thing is completed. But the story (along with the illustrations) make it easy to enchant a whole family and everyone will be ready to sit down for another reading.
I love this story. And I think one of the reasons I love it so much were the pictures that went with the story. My version was illustrated by Juan Alonso Diaz-Toledo. And his watercolors captured not only the scenes and emotions of each page but also my imagination. I have distinct memories of looking through this book, seeing one of the pictures, and then making up my own story to fit that picture. Like I said, these illustrations are magical.
This is the version I have at home. I don’t know if it’s still in print, but if you plan on buying this book make sure whatever version you get has amazing art. Enjoy!