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The Emperor's New Clothes

Press:Chronicle Books Llc Chronicle Books (July 1, 2004)
Author Name:Sedgwick, Marcus/ Jay, Alison (ILT)


Hans Christian Andersen's classic fable of vanity and pride is given a refreshing twist in this beautiful picture book illustrated by Alison Jay in her award-winning crackle-glaze style.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2–Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of the vain emperor and silent subjects has been recast once again. 
Here the self-important leader is a lion, his advisors a tortoise and a hare.
And the tricky tailors are none other than wily weasels, of course.
Distinctive illustrations are reminiscent of medieval art.
Broad perspectives and elongated figures appear in crackle-glazed paintings in full but subtle color.
Some illustrations fill entire spreads while others clearly focus viewers' eyes by placing an image on white space.
The art establishes movement and pace, less predictable but equally as satisfying as the rhyming text.
Once a small frog announces the real status of the emperor's attire, the story ends: "After that, the secret was out,/and everyone started to point and shout./Laughter rang out.
What a hullabaloo!/For the trick was EXPOSED,/and THE EMPEROR, TOO!" Unfortunately, the exit of the weasel tailors is not addressed; one assumes they are gleeful, however.
If a fresh look and sound for an old tale are needed, this one will be useful.–Maria B.
Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Retold by Sedgwick in rhymed couplets, this handsome version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" mentions author Hans Christian Andersen only on the jacket flap.
There are a few embellishments here; prose becomes verse and the tone is more jovial.
Even so, this is true to the spirit of the original.
The retelling ends with the clever lines, "Laughter rang out.
What a hullabaloo! / For the trick was EXPOSED, and THE EMPEROR, TOO!" The characters are all sumptuously dressed animals whose emperor is a lion.
He is sometimes referred to as their king, presumably because it rhymes with more words than "emperor." Rounded forms predominate in the compositions, which offer plenty for children to explore visually while the story is read aloud.
Warm, glowing colors are used in the paintings, which are finished with a crackle-glaze varnish that adds an air of antiquity.
Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved


"As the weasels gloat over their success at convincing the emperor to hire them to fashion magical clothes for him, they say of their ruse: 'The story's a good one, woven with care./ And one that was told with a/ great deal of flair!' An apt description of this buoyant collaboration as well." -Publishers Weekly "Jay's figures, as always have large gently rounded bodies and small heads and limbs, and her pictures are full of beautiful details, elegant small objects, window vistas, and landscapes." -Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Alison Jay studied graphic design at the London College of Printing. 
After graduating with honors, she concentrated on illustrating children's books.
Her distinct, crackle-glaze art style has won her international acclaim.Marcus Sedgwick has written four novels for children, including Floodland , Witch Hill , The Dark Horse , and The Book of Dead Days .


Children's Books,Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths,European,Multicultural,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:4)

  •     I love this story. I've used this book to explain politics to my children since they have been seeing so much of it on television and have heard people debating the election.

  •     This book has snort-laugh funny illustrations. The teeth on the smiling emperor kill me every time.Any book Mommy enjoys this much is sure to be a big hit with the little ones. The text is easy to read, with rhymes (which I love). Sometimes the meter is a little forced, but if you want sonnets, buy Shakespeare. And how about this great idea: some words are printed LARGE so you know to emphasize them when you read aloud. This way, Gramma reads them the same as Mommy. Good thinking.And the teeth reflected in that mirror -- oh, that just slays me every time. What a hoot! Get this one.

  •     With an animated twist on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, this beautifully illustrated book offers a lesson in vanity and pride, couched in simple language, when an Emperor orders a new set of clothes from a pair of tailors, who, "for a bit more gold" will cast a spell that will make his clothes invisible to "all who dull or foolish be". The Emperor is more than willing to pay extra for such cleverness, delighted by the prospect of such unique clothing. Unfortunately, it is the Emperor who is deceived, prancing about his kingdom in nothing at all. The whimsical illustrations add personality to this rogue's gallery of weasels and servants, a variety of elegant tortoises and hares. Pages tinted in an old world gold lend a medieval patina that assumes all the splendor of any self-respecting fairy tale, the characters costumed in royal gowns, except, of course, the Emperor, who wanders about, unaware, in only his "birthday" suit: "As the procession set out, everyone stared and gawked, too frightened to say what they really thought". An intrepid frog declares "The Emperor's wearing nothing at all!"Chronicle Books is an imprint much admired for its quality presentations and illustrations and The Emperor's New Clothes is no exception, the artwork exceptionally detailed and imaginative. This wonderful tale will engage any child with its much-loved parable, combined with the distinctive crackle-glaze art style of illustrator Alison Jay, a truly enchanting book. Luan Gaines/2005.

  •     We got this when our kid was 2 1/2 years old. He loves it. It is a great lesson for those who wish to teach their kids critical thinking. The illustrations are awesome.


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