“Gordon Laite’s breathtaking artwork for a Little Golden Book edition of the Andersen fairy tale was found recently in the Golden Books archive. Planned for a 1970 release but never published, this Little Golden Book is finally making its debut for today’s fairy tale fans! And it couldn’t be a lovelier retelling of the story of a determined princess whose loyalty saves her brothers from being turned into swans by an evil queen.” ~Random House
What the what? Yes, you read that right. This is all the more valuable bc Laite died at such a young age, before he had the time to illustrate many books. I’ve already reviewed some of his other stories- like Cinderella, Diamonds and Toads in the Blue Fairy Book, and More Tales to Tremble By.
Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story, the adaptor, Robin Davies does a wonderful job changing Anderson’s story (of which I’m not a fan) into something nearly identical to the Grimms’ fairy tale, “The Six Swans.” The Late Medieval 15th century setting is amazing. Check out the evil step mother’s bizarre hennin. I also love that she’s nearly green with envy. FYI- if I’d had thirteen kids, I probably would have died too. The beautiful raven haired Elisa meets a fairy woman. I love the little details like mushroom gathering, leaf crown, and blue stockings.
Those ladies are throwing some serious shade Elisa’s way. But not as much as this guy! I almost forgive him bc his fur hat is all kinds of amazing. Can these illustrations get anymore awesomely gothic?Why yes they can- I love that Laite ditched Elisa’s amazing truncated butterfly hennin so he could illustrate her gorgeous hair in the remaining pictures.
This little book is a dream come true for me. Not only is set during one of my absolute favorite time periods for fairy tales, it’s by Gordon Laite, the most influential of my childhood art heroes.
I’ve always heard of this story as “diamonds and toads,” instead of the other way around. it’s the familiar poor girl with mean stepmother/stepsister scenario.
I would like to say, i think the fairy’s outfit is one of the most beautiful i’ve seen. This time period can be hard to reproduce without making the ladies look like lovely boxes, but Mr. Laite translates the styles wonderfully.
as i promised, here are the scans of gordon laite’s “cinderella” paper doll~
Cinderella is an autumn tale. Don’t believe me? Pumpkins. Okay, occasionally it’s a winter tale and the ball is actually a yule ball. Cinderella comes in decked in flowers which makes the party-goers believe she’s a fairy bc it’s the dead of winter. i.e.- “rashin’ coatie” (“coat of rushes” a scottish cinderella variant). But usually, it’s an autumn tale.
enter dress #2! a lovely ermine trimmed blue velvet number. just don’t google what ermine look like or you may not like Cinderella as much.
too late! run little guy!
She was just that amazing.
ps- i have the dolls and clothing as well. i’ll scan and post them soon.
gordon laite’s art is beautiful. all of his art i’ve seen prior to this has been full color so it was a delight to see his linework. sadly, due to the wonderful painted cover, this book is often “reused” to make journals so pick one up while you can.