Authors: Sylvia Long
Copyright Â© 2010 by Sylvia Long.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
The Library of Congress has cataloged the previous edition as follows:
Sylvia Long's Thumbelina.
Summary: A tiny girl no bigger than a thumb is stolen by a great ugly toad and subsequently has many
adventures and makes many animal friends, before finding the perfect mate in a warm and beautiful southern land.
[1. Fairy tales.] I. Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian), 1805â1875. Tommelise. English. II. Title. III. Title: Thumbelina.
Book design by Sara Gillingham.
Typeset in Felina Serif and Bodoni Classic Swashes.
The illustrations in this book were rendered in watercolor and ink.
Chronicle Books LLC, 680 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94107
elcome to the clan, Helena Marion Long. Your Nana loves you!
Huge thanks to Victoria Rock and Sara Gillingham for helping to shape my vision of Thumbelina's story and to Kathy for suggesting it. Thanks to Antonia for being my Thumbelina model, Quinby for being the prince, mouse, and blue-eyed fish, and to Linda Belous, for being Thumbelina's mother.
in a magical land, there lived a lonely woman who more than anything else in the world wanted to have a child. She had been wishing for a very long time. When her hope began to fade, she went to ask a fairy for advice.
“Please good fairy,” the woman said, “I should so very much like to have a child. Can you help me?”
“Of course,” replied the fairy. “You are the kindest of women. This barley seed holds the promise of your heart's desire. Plant it and care for it as tenderly as you would your own child and your wish will come true.”
he woman hurried home and planted the seed in a flowerpot. She watered it daily, anxiously watching to see what would grow. Soon a sprout appeared and grew into a blossom.
“Such a beautiful flower!” the woman marveled. She bent down to kiss the blossom. As she did, the flower suddenly opened! The woman was amazed to see that in its very center sat a lovely little girl, scarcely as long as the woman's thumb! Delighted, the woman named the girl Thumbelina.
The woman did everything she could to make Thumbelina feel at home. She set out a lovely bowl of water filled with flowers. To Thumbelina it was as big as a lake, and she made herself a flower petal boat, which she rowed about with horse hair oars.
At night, Thumbelina slept in an elegantly polished walnut shell lined with blue violets. A soft rose petal kept her warm. And so Thumbelina lived quite happily
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one warm night, a large, wet toad hopped through an open window and leapt upon the table where Thumbelina lay sleeping.
“What a pretty little wife she would make for my son,” thought the toad. She grabbed the walnut shell with Thumbelina in it, and she jumped back out through the window into the garden.
he old toad carried Thumbelina to the swampy bank of a stream that flowed along the edge of the garden where she lived with her son. He was even uglier than his mother and could only cry, “Croak, croak, croak!” when he saw Thumbelina in her elegant bed.
“Hush or you'll wake her!” whispered his mother. “She might run away. We will place her on a lily pad out in the stream, where she cannot escape.”
hen Thumbelina woke in the morning, she found she was stranded on the lily pad with water on every side as far as she could see! She could not imagine how she had come to this strange place, away from the comfort and love of her home. Thumbelina was frightened and wept miserably.
eanwhile, the old toad and her son were busy under the marsh, decorating a dark, muddy room for Thumbelina to live in. When the room was finished, they swam together out to the lily pad.
The old toad bowed low and said to Thumbelina, “This is my son who will be your husband. You will live together happily in the nearby marsh.”
Her son could only say, “Croak, croak, croak!”
Then the toads swam away again.
The little fish that darted beneath the lily pad had heard what the old toad said and lifted their heads out of the water to see the little maiden. It made them sad to see how unhappy she was. They felt sorry to think she must go to live with the unpleasant old toad and her ugly son.
“We must save her!” they decided.
And so the fish began to gnaw the underwater stalk attached to the lily pad that held Thumbelina captive.
eed from its root, the lily pad drifted quickly down the stream. Birds who watched from the trees that grew along the banks were charmed and sang to Thumbelina as she passed by.
A graceful butterfly, wanting to help Thumbelina, lifted the lily pad's long stem from the water and pulled the little craft far from the toad.
But it wasn't just the birds and the butterfly who saw and admired Thumbelina.
large beetle flying overhead also spied Thumbelina. The moment he saw her, he swooped down and seized her. Thumbelina trembled with fear. What was going to happen to her now?
Holding Thumbelina tightly, the beetle flew with her to a patch of broad leaves near the edge of the stream. He told her she was very pretty, although not in the least like a beetle!