Far, far away, in the land where the swallows fly during our winter, there lived a king who had eleven sons and one daughter, Elisa. The eleven brothers–princes all of them–went to school, each wearing a star at his heart and a sword at his side. They wrote on leaves of gold with diamond pencils; whatever they read, they learnt at once. You could tell straight off that they were princes! Their sister Elisa sat on a little stool made of looking-glass, and had a picture book that had cost half a kingdom.
Oh, they lived royally, those children! But it did not last.
Hans Christian Andersen’s stories verge on being too dark and long for reading to younger children. But they are also beautiful, and the artwork and the translation here reflects that.
This book was a happy surprise, found the morning before a family wedding in a very unusual bookstore housed in an old bank (complete with a vault for the rarest volumes).
Author: Naomi Lewis/Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrator: Angela Barrett