Cover image for The wild swans : an adventure in six parts
The wild swans : an adventure in six parts
Setterington, Ken.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Tundra Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Ken Setterington's interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's The wild swan.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.6 1.0 73342.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8 .S333 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Selected by the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education as one of the 2004 Best Children's Books for the Year

In the grand tradition of fairy tales, a king becomes lost in an enchanted forest. In order to save himself, he strikes a dreadful bargain with an elderly witch: he will marry her daughter if only she will show him the way home.

The king fears that the daughter too is a witch, so he hides his eleven sons and his only daughter from the woman he has pledged to marry.

After his marriage, his new queen discovers the children and casts a spell, turning the princes into swans. But she doesn't know there is a twelfth child, a princess. It is up to the princess to find her brothers and break the spell that binds them.

Renowned storyteller Ken Setterington has borrowed from European folk traditions, including the Brothers Grimm, to tell a timeless story.

Nelly and Ernst Hofer's exquisite paper cut art make this a beautiful book for reading and for gift giving.

Author Notes

Ken Setterington is an international authority on children's books. He was named the first Children and Youth Advocate for Library Services by the Toronto Public Library and won a prestigious Toronto Arts Award for Writing and Publishing for his promotion of children's literature. Most recently he co-wrote A Guide to Canadian Children's Books . His first book for children was The Snow Queen , also illustrated by the Hofers.

Nelly and Ernst Hofer learned the folk art of scherenschnitt in their native Switzerland. Their first book was the award-winning Silent Night: The Song From Heaven by Linda Granfield. Nelly and Ernst Hofer live on a farm in Perth County, Ontario.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6, younger for reading aloud. Borrowing from European folklore, including the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, and illustrated with traditional cut-paper art, this lengthy fairy tale tells of brave Elise, who weaves stinging nettles into shirts that save her 11 brothers from a curse that has transformed them into swans. The clear storytelling style blends the contemporary (What was he to do? ) with the traditional (lest she cast a spell on them ), and Setterington adds romance and suspense as the king falls in love with Elise and the people threaten to burn her as a witch. The small, intricate, black-and-white illustrations, delicate and formal in design, fit well with the story of twisting paths, woven yarn, and magical transformation. A long, fascinating chapter at the back fills in facts about the history and tradition of cut-paper art. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Although no source notes are provided, it appears that Setterington has based his retelling on the Grimm version of this traditional tale. He retains all of the major plot elements and uses a prose style that is graceful and appropriate. As in the author and illustrators' collaboration for The Snow Queen (Tundra, 2000), this book showcases the Hofers' expertise in scherenschnitt (paper cutting). Elegant, amazingly intricate full-page illustrations grace the beginning of each of the six parts of the tale, with smaller pieces tucked into the borders of most of the other pages. The length of the story, coupled with the lovely but rather somber aspect of the black-on-white artwork, makes this a good choice for older readers, and an excellent way to introduce them to this unique art form. An afterword contains extensive information on the history of scherenschnitt.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.