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The Red Shoes and Other Tales

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There once was a young girl, who was pretty but poor. So poor she had to go barefoot. Her name was Karen and she loved to dance. When Karen becomes an orphan, her great aunt takes her in. One day on a shopping trip, she is bought a beautiful pair of red shoes. The shoes magically come to life and steer Karen down a path she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams, or nightmares. This fresh take on the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Red Shoes” is a tale of hope, obsession and guilt, retold and lavishly illustrated by multiple-Eisner award nominated creators Metaphrog. Also included is an adaptation of Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” and an original story, “The Glass Case”.

"Hope, joy, and pain intermingle in these dark, alluring stories, which may leave readers thinking of Andersen as a precursor to modern horror." Publishers Weekly.

"A darkly pensive read, perfect for chilly fall evenings." Kirkus Reviews

64 pages, Hardcover

First published October 13, 2015

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About the author


10 books29 followers
Metaphrog are Franco-Scottish duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, award-winning graphic novelists.

They are winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 for Best Visual Artist; Excelsior Award Junior 2018; SICBA Outstanding Achievement 2018 and multiple Eisner Awards nominees for their Louis graphic novels.

Their latest graphic novels are fairy tale adaptations The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. A third volume, Bluebeard, a feminist fairy tale, will be published by Papercutz in May 2020.

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5 stars
39 (15%)
4 stars
64 (25%)
3 stars
108 (42%)
2 stars
38 (15%)
1 star
3 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews
Profile Image for Christine.
6,526 reviews466 followers
May 22, 2020
The adaptions of the two Anderson tales in this volume (the title story and The Little Match Girl) are faithful, so if you are looking for a complete re-invention, this isn’t it. What it is is a powerful illustration adaption of two tales as well as a tale about a boy and a doll. Powerful stories. Nicely illustrated.
Profile Image for Kimberly Francisco.
706 reviews108 followers
January 3, 2015
The art was fine, technically good but seemed uninspired. The text was likewise, simplistic in the way fairy tales often are, but without the depth simple language can give. The Goodreads summary of the story has more depth than the story itself.

The "other stories" were also fine. Nothing to write home about.
Profile Image for Felicia.
200 reviews17 followers
September 14, 2017
I enjoyed the art style in this three story collection, especially the use of muted colors to emphasize the somber moods presented by each.

The Red Shoes was very well done. As an adult I would have liked to see more of the girl's physical decline as she was forced to dance and dance, but I can understand the decision to stay away from anything that might seen as grotesque or too graphic for the intended audience.

The second story, an original, is simple and heartbreaking.

Finally, The Little Match Girl, stays true to the original. It felt rushed, but the message is all there. Again, the final scene showing her death is hinted at, but omitted.

These are NOT feel good stories for children. Actually, I wouldn't recommend this for younger children at all. But it is beautiful and all tied together by theme.
Profile Image for Nikki in Niagara.
3,782 reviews123 followers
July 7, 2016
I had forgotten how deliciously morbid Hans Christian Andersen was! I love this gorgeous graphic novel. The "other tales" mentioned in the title are "The Glass Case" and "The Little Match Girl". These are the original stories with their macabre endings, though the matchstick girl is more bittersweet. Watch out for sensitive children as one ends with a girl getting her feet chopped off, the other with a real life boy turning into a wooden doll and finally, one where a poor little girl dies on the streets in the middle of winter. Gorgeous, gorgeous book I will be keeping for my fairy tale collection.
Profile Image for Beth.
101 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2022

So dark.
I'm familiar with 2 of the 3 tales but, wow, dark.

The title story is part compulsion, part obsession, part too much of a good thing. It is sad.

The next story, The Glass Class is not one I know but figured out where it was going early on. A warning tale of getting what you wish for? I'm not sure of the message - Yikes.

The last story, The Little Match Girl, is just a sad commentary on homelessness and

It's a junior graphic novel but the stories are dark and brooding. Not for the younger set but older elementary or middle school kids.
Profile Image for Emilee.
163 reviews1 follower
March 26, 2015
I was privileged to read an advanced reader copy of this book. I had never read the classic story of the Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen. I started out sweet, simple and yet tragic. Then is got a little disturbing. I looked up the original text and it’s been altered. This is a graphic novel version. It’s about a girl who loves to dance and is given a pair of magical red shoes. It also includes a story called The Glass Case and The Little Match Girl. I enjoyed the illustrations. They are all in black and white except the main character.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,244 reviews
March 31, 2019
I count EVERY book I read, even if it's a kids' book, though this one is classified by the library as a graphic novel. I had never read "The Red Shoes," but a few mentions over the years gave me the feeling it wasn't a particularly happy tale. After reading this one and the other two included ("The Glass Case" and "The Little Match Girl"), I decided this was the children's version of Black Mirror. The "happy" endings here are a new take for this girl who grew up on the old Disney princesses. Of course, happiness is a journey, not a destination, right?
Profile Image for Nicole.
511 reviews46 followers
October 9, 2015
I just got this on noisetrade!!!

Oh so wonderful. This was such a fun and super easy read. It took me like five minutes to read it and the rest of the time I just admired the beautiful and a bit dark graphics.

I totally recommend this. Especially if you are like me and are still a young child at heart.
That was such a throwback to my childhood. Especially 'The Little Match Girl' story.
Profile Image for David Allison.
266 reviews5 followers
January 18, 2018
The figures in these stories are all strangely mannequin-like, and the colour palette remains dusky and muted even when depicting those moments where the fantastic disturbs the ordinary.

Perhaps this is only fitting - after all, this is a book in which pursuing the fulfillment of desire can only lead to mutilation, confinement and death.

It's good stuff. Y'know, for kids!
Profile Image for Halli.
175 reviews22 followers
October 22, 2015
A good graphic novel intro. to two of Hans Christian Andersen's tales The Red Shoes and The Little Match Girl, along with an original tale, The Glass Case. These stories all lean a little to the creepy side, but are definitely less creepy than the original tales. Nice illustrations and color.
Profile Image for Joanna.
291 reviews
February 4, 2022
Most people are familiar with the Hans Christian Anderson story that Disney turned into the Little Mermaid, but they may not know any of his other tales, or that his stories are much darker than Disney portrayed. This graphic novel focuses on the story of the red shoes, in which a poor but beautiful girl becomes obsessed with a pair of shoes that force her to dance nonstop. The only way to finally free her of her prison is to chop off both of her feet.

Other stories include The Glass Case and The Little Match Girl.
Profile Image for Kerfe.
876 reviews36 followers
December 28, 2018
The graphic format works well for these three Hans Christian Anderson stories. The text is pared down and the images take center stage. I did not know the story "The Glass Case", a mirrored reversal of a doll coming to life. And I was moved, as I always am, by "The Little Match Girl", a heartbreaking story which manages to end with light and hope.
Profile Image for Alessandra.
9 reviews
June 8, 2019
The art in this book was eye catching, keeping me reading. I enjoyed the little bonus stories at the end! The translation (?) feels a little bit...off, most of the time. It's not awful, just midly incorrect at times. The wording makes this a bit more difficult to enjoy. I still loved reading this for a short while!
Profile Image for Anna.
1,998 reviews12 followers
December 21, 2021
It kept my interest even if I wasn't very fond of the illustrations that much. I've heard of these stories before, but I've forgotten the details. It was nice to refresh my mind and read these stories in a graphic novel form. They're not happy fairy tales at all. I would say all of them have a either disturbing or sad ending to the main character's life.
Profile Image for Miss Kelly.
775 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2017
This is a graphic novel of short stories that Hans Christian Anderson had written made into a graphic novel form. I really enjoyed this book. I also used it during one of my Tween book discussion groups and the tweens enjoyed it as well.
Profile Image for Maggie Gordon.
1,896 reviews130 followers
November 29, 2017
The Red Shoes is a straight retelling of three fairy tales. The art is quite rich in colour with a strange anime-esque style that actually works rather well. While adults must not find stories they have already read many times compelling, this is a nice edition to give to a kid.
Profile Image for Janet.
114 reviews
May 18, 2018
This book contains 3 tales from Hans Christian Andersen.
1. The Red Shoes
2. The Glass Case
3. The Little Match Girl

They are beautifully illustrated, and very quick to read.
I'd recommend for older children and adults, not for young or sensitive children as one is a bit upsetting.
49 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2021
There's nothing bad about this book but there's nothing interesting either. It's a very short read for sure and covers the tales of The Red Shoes, The Glass Case, and The Little Match Girl. It's short and easy but nothing interesting or memorable. Solid 3/5.
Profile Image for Megan Walsh.
52 reviews15 followers
March 31, 2020
All 3 stories are beatifully written and the images are incredible and complement the sotry-telling perfectly
Profile Image for India C.
295 reviews
November 30, 2020
Very interesting adaptation of these tales. The illustrations were gorgeous, but I feel like they lost a bit of the heart.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
539 reviews
July 22, 2022
First- these are dark stories.

Do not recommend for kiddos. I like the creepy vibe. It’s kind of like your scary stories around the camp fire. Short. To the point. Decent graphics.
January 19, 2023
So this book is about kids suffering horrible fates...

One turning into a wooden doll, another becoming permanently crippled, and the final dying of frost.

3 beautiful stories to be told.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nat's Bookshelf .
127 reviews6 followers
November 3, 2020
Meh. The weren't the best hans christian fairy tales and the artwork was just okay. It would probably be good "spooky" stories for young children but, obviously, not something im really gonna love.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 58 reviews

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