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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
is no bigger
than your thumb!

Thumbelina is content to spend her days rowing in a boat made from a tulip petal and sleeping in a cradle made from a polished walnut shell. Then one horrible night a toad kidnaps her, and she is tossed from one wretched adventure to another.

Will Thumbelina be forced to marry the toad's son or spend her days deep underground with a ric
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Greenwillow Books
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Amy Layton
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Brian Pinkney retells Thumbelina beautifully, and creates incredible illustrations for it.  It's a sweet story, emotional, but it's a story that I was never invested in as a child, which is why I'm ultimately giving it 4 stars.  I think if I was really nostalgic about it, I'd give it a 5, but because I never really read it or watched it as a kid, I'm a little more objective about things.  Like the fact that we never see her mother again.  I mean, maybe it's just me, but if I was constantly subje ...more
Marcia Campbell
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Title: Thumbelina
Author: Retold and illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Published in New York by Green Willow Books, 2003

Pickney, a Caldecott Honor Book award winning illustrator, retells the story of Thumbelina, a miniscule girl who was stolen from her mother by a toad and whisked away to become the bride of the toad’s son. Through the kindness of several animals, Thumbelina finds herself twice narrowly escaping marriage to creatures that fall in love with her. Despite desperate and unfortunate misadve
Kayla Ross
Title: Thumbelina
Author: Hans Christian Andersen Retold by Brian Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Genre: European Folktale
Theme(s): Love, Marriage, and standing up for oneself
Opening line/sentence: “A woman who longed for a tiny child once asked an old lady for help. The old lady sold the woman a magic seed. Soon after the woman planted it, a beautiful, tightly curled blossom grew. Delighted, the woman kissed the petals, and the flower burst open. In its center sat a tiny girl.”
Brief Book Summa
Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Genre: Picture Book - Fairy Tale
Ages: 9-12
Awards: X

Thumbelina is a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that has been retold and illustrated by Brian Pinkney. The sweet story is about a tiny girl named Thumbelina. A woman wanting a child receives a magic seed from an old woman. The seed becomes a blossom with a tiny girl inside. One day, the tiny girl is taken by a toad who wants a wife for her son. With the help of some fish and a butterfly, Thumbelina escapes from the toads. Then, she is picked
Goshen PL Childrens
Original nomination suggestion: "Because it's so great. It's a good book. It's surprising when Thumbelina doesn't know the bird is still alive."

Miss Laura: I really enjoyed the beautiful pictures from Brian Pinkney! (4 stars) But, seriously, I forgot how creepy Thumbelina is as a fairy tale. (1 star) When I was reading I kept thinking it couldn't get creepier but it did. Pinkney made up for some of the creepiness of the story by making all the pictures full of movement and bright colors. So, if
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I was very happy to see Thumbelina portrayed as something other than a pale-skinned blonde girl! This is a retelling of an old fairy tale, but some things about it still bother me. For instance, the whole story revolves around the girl escaping unwelcome marriages and finally finding the right one, as though that is all a girl is good for. Also, Thumbelina has no agency in avoiding the unwanted marriages. Last, does she not care that her mother h ...more
Jennifer Lanman
This book is a story about a girl who is as tiny as a thumb. A lady longed for a child and Thumbelina was a magical child. She has many struggles along the way when she gets kidnapped by a frog. She ends up marrying someone just like her and she lives happily ever after! I liked the illustrations because it was bright watercolors. There were many animals and pretty scenery like nature. I would use this for read aloud fairytale. It has a moral lesson that you might be different from a lot of peop ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pinkney tells a good, solid version of Thumbelina here, not leaving any plot holes but condensing the story from Andersen's gorgeous, but admittedly sometimes difficult to read, text. The illustrations are bright, cheerful, and fun, and the idea of changing the non-animal characters to African Americans works just fine. Very pretty book.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
So sexist. It is another tale of a beeyoooteeeful girl who all the grodey dudes are trying to force into marriage. And she decides to marry a king, of course, since she is so beautiful that she "deserves" a rich and powerful husband, and she decides this as soon as she merely SEES him because he is handsome. Bad for kids on so many levels.
This book has lovely, bright pictures. The story is told simply and fairly well, if a little slow. My sons really enjoyed it and wanted to read it again. My 5-yr-old especially loved it.

On a different note though, I just wanted to smack Thumbelina for not standing up for herself sooner. Egads.

A nice retelling of a classic and one that benefits from great illustrations.
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Thumbelina finished off our unit on "little folk" in folklore. The story is enchanting and well-loved, if mostly familiar to the K-2s. This version is illustrated by Brian Pinkney who gives our heroine a bit of color which is a nice change from the usual pale white fairy tale characters. The longing for a child is a common theme amongst this category of stories.
A shortened retelling of Thumbelina, but the illustrations show a light-skinned Black miniature girl instead of the typical White depiction. However, the culture of the story has not been changed. For those who love the classic fairy tales, this provides a new look.
Edna Giesen
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: el-230
I enjoyed this book for its beautiful, detailed illustration. The story itself focuses on the small details that make reading a joy. This book is great for children who want to improve fluency without introducing difficult vocabulary.
Robin Gassen
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a retelling of the classic Thumbelina story. The illustrations are different in the fact that they are a little abstract. However the story is still a wonderful tale of adventure and a happily ever after.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This deserves a 3.5, in my opinion, but the low rating has more to do with the tale than the illustrations. Thumbelina moves from fiance to fiance so flippantly. I absolutely loved the gorgeous illustrations by Brad Pinkney.
Ms. D
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This edition/version has a rather boring storyline, but I enjoyed the artwork.
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
For whatever reason, Frank really loves the story of Thumbelina. I think this was a good version, with nice illustrations.
Wilhelmina Jenkins
A beautiful rendition of an old favorite. In these beautiful illustrations, the characters are African American.
Samantha Westall
A retelling of the traditional Thumbelina, this time depicted with a darker skin tone.
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Born in Boston, Massachusetts, (Jerry) Brian Pinkney was raised in an artistic household. "My two brothers and sister and I played musical instruments, and we were always drawing, painting, or building things," the illustrator once recalled of his childhood. While his mother, children's book author Gloria Jean Pinkney, would inspire all her children with a love of reading, it would be his father, ...more
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