The Tinderbox - Stephen Mitchell,  Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)

Wow!  This has never been one of my favorite HC Andersen stories.  Even I, who enjoy a bit of grit and gore with my fairy tales and certainly don't demand a tidy moral, have always found this story more than just a bit squirm-worthy.  This book changed my mind completely! 


It is still a wacky, brutal, immoral story, but I LOVE it.  I would say that it's due almost entirely to the illustrations which are beyond fantastic - somehow making the three huge eyed dogs both grotesque and adorable at the same time. 


However, I think much of the appeal also has a lot to do with Stephen Mitchell's retelling.  I love Andersen, really I do, but some of his stories really can be a drag.  Mitchell somehow made this story fun and lighthearted and I really don't know how he did that given how much bizarre and unnecessary violence takes place.  Ah, the power of words!


A little sample of Ibatoulline's awesomeness:



Check out more at his official website: