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The Wild Swans

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  1,793 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Eleven brothers, turned into wild swans by an evil stepmother, are saved by the sacrifices of their beautiful sister, Elisa.
Published (first published 1976)
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Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Be...Cinderella by Anthea BellThe Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian AndersenThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian AndersenRumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
Best Classic Fairytale
17th out of 68 books — 70 voters
Moonlight by Ann  HunterDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierSwan Sister by Ellen DatlowPrincess of the Wild Swans by Diane ZahlerThe Swan Kingdom by Zoë Marriott
Fairy Tale Versions: The Wild Swans
8th out of 8 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,550)
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The story is Hans Christian Anderson, the pictures are Susan Jeffers, and both are beautiful. It's a very haunting story and it was one of my favorites when I was little.
Mekenna Price
I have only heard of this story. I read Cloaked by Alex Flinn, which was a new, modern twist on fairy tales. The swans and their sister had a little part in that book. Reading the real version did not sway my appreciation for what the story stands for. This tale shows a sister who is willing to do anything to get her family back. That is a great example for children who are sometimes feeling like they "hate" their family. Also, the artwork in this particular book had me interested even when I on ...more
This was one of my favourite fairytales when I was little! The evil step-mother strikes again, but children turn out to be smarter and better than her :)
jo mo
Aug 17, 2012 jo mo marked it as to-read
one of yvonne gilbert's illustrations (not sure if it's included in the wild swans though) ..

This was a translation done by Naomi Lewis of Hans Christian Anderson story. Lovely done and the pictures are nicely done.

I grew up and love Hans Christian Anderson stories and sometimes you just need a break from life and go back to something comforting. This is a great story about the bonds of family and what you would be willing to sacrifice for siblings. The sister faces pain and even death to save her brothers but in the end is willing to save them and her own life.
Lisa Rathbun
This Hans Christian Anderson tale was in my 2nd grade reading anthology, and it truly captured my imagination. The wickedness of the evil queen, and the love and dedication and self-sacrifice of the princess even to the point of death really spoke to me. This version of the story is absolutely beautiful!!!! I love the gorgeous pictures - they are exquisite.

There were a couple changes to other versions of this story that I've read. I don't remember the fairy Morgana being in the story. Also in s
Marcia Brown's illustrations are beautiful in this book. I've looked at several of her picture books for a paper I wrote about her in my children's literature class toward my MLIS. I think I prefer her painting to her woodblock printing. She won a Caldecott medal for Cinderella, but I like her Wild Swans better. Since the illustrations are so poignant and represent the story so well, I was very surprised to find out that it's out of print--it wasn't even on Goodreads and I had to add it.

The king
Julia Jasztal
Mommy's review from 10/4/11 -

Julia kept putting off reading this so I started to think maybe she'd glanced through it and wasn't interested. I don't make her read anything if she doesn't want to so I thought I'd give it a read if all else failed and note that she didn't want to read it.
Well, it turned out she was "saving it for the end because it looks great". *smile* I love this kid.
I haven't read the original telling of this story so I can't compare but Julia and I both really liked this vers
Ella Lancaster
I loved reading this when I was about 9 or 10. In fact, I liked it so much that I wrote the summarised version and drew my own illustration of Elisa with her brothers by hand in a DIY notebook. It was one of those rare times in fairytales when the princess saves the day/her brothers. I just loved how unprecedented the story was to me as a kid. Officially one of my favourite fairytales. :-)
In the mid-1800s, Andersen wrote many original fairy tales. He has many common themes however to the stories that had been passed down for generations. This story is of a young girl sent away by her evil stepmother. She then must rescue her eleven brothers from the spell that has been placed upon them. In a dream, a fairy came to her and gave her the answer. So after, a king falls in love with her at first sight. This tale is a bit lengthy and has a few passages of irrelevant information, but be ...more
An intriguing story that later fairy tales seem to have borrowed from (The Swan Princess springs to mind!). The illustrations in this edition are SO BEAUTIFUL! For that I will cherish the book!
Este cuentos es muuuuy parecido a "Los seis cisnes" de los hermanos Grimm, pero me gusto mucho más este, me pareció muy completo y con un mejor desarrollo de las situaciones.
When I first saw "The Wild Swans" in the children's book section, I didn't know what it was. Cased in a beautifully illustrated box (by Thomas Aquinas Maguire), I thought it was a misplaced gift item. It didn't help when I opened it and all I saw was the seemingly endless accordion-booklet of wordless illustrations. Luckily, I saw the little booklet and took some time to read the Hans Christian Andersen adapted fairy tale.
I could never imagine that there comes a day in my life when I read H.C.Andersen in his own language! As I nver dreamed about living in Denmark. But all these happened, and I tried to read some of Andersen's works in Danish, well, let's say Old Danish, which is different. Now I know a bit about Danish culture as well, so I would say Andersen has more dimensions than I imagined him in Persian.
I remember being given this book for Christmas. I loved it. It became one of my favorite stories, and I love the illustrations in this edition. When I went walking in Ireland many years later, I was thrilled to find real stinging nettles like in the book and was half tempted to collect them to see if they could actually be formed into thread.
The Library Lady
Like all of the books that have been retold by Amy Ehrlich and illustrated by Susan Jeffers, this is beautiful in both words and pictures. This faithful retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is not a little kids book any more than they would the original REAL "Little Mermaid". But older children and adults will find it wonderful.
Elizabeth Root
The princess sets out to find her brothers who have not been in her life. As she discovers they are bewitched, she goes above and beyond to set them free. I would use this story as another form of exposure to students. This story is not one I had picked up before.
Mabel Geronimo
This books is more of a lesson of perseverance. It show us true and familiar love. Although I would have liked to read the father and the stepmother got a well-deserved punishment; life is exactly that way. We don't always get what we want or deserve.
not the same illustrated version I have (mine is by Susan Jeffers circa early 80s and outrageously beautiful) but I love this fairy tale. I really return to it as a center of personal mythology over and over again especially in my work. xoxoxo
Seems to be a fairy tale that isn't very well known. I like that the princess perseveres in order to save her brothers and has a happy ending. The illustrations seem to show all of the children about the same age, which is kinda weird.
This was a cute story, but the ending left some un-answered questions, like did the brothers return to their kingdom and get revenge on there evil witch of a step-mother?
Sam Grace
Nov 16, 2009 Sam Grace rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sam by: Abigail A.
Barefoot Books strikes again. I have yet to disappointed with something by these publishers.

The story is, of course, wonderful, and I enjoyed the beautiful artwork.
Mommy says: Kept both kids rapt for the whole book. However, typical Hans Christian Anderson (this is s aretelling of his original); there is some violence.
Danielle Anderson
I love fairy tales and this one has beautiful illustrations which enhance the story wonderfully! Reading it to my children and of course for myself!
Rundle Family
Maddie: Elisa, there's a princess and her name's Elisa, and she has 11 brothers and there's a fairy and swans and the girl is beautiful.

death by burning might have been a bit much for my kids (age 4 AND 5) but they liked it =)
Lena Hillbrand
Another classic I hadn't read before. Good story about enduring family love and sacrifice.
cEe beE
Naomi Lewis' beautiful illustrations make this fairy tale even more wonderful.
I love this book it is a wonderful book for sports fanns
Kaarina Kaila's illustrations are beautiful!!
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Hans Christian Andersen (Danish: [ˈhanˀs ˈkʁæsdjan ˈɑnɐsn̩]; often referred to in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen; April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories—called eventyr, or "fairy-tales"—express them ...more
More about Hans Christian Andersen...
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