I had totally forgotten why I disliked Hans Christian Andersen. After reading The Fir Tree, I remembered: Andersen is seriously melancholy. I don't think I have a problem with sad fairytales, per se. But I'm not sure about sad fairytales being told about young kids.
Ah well, I read the book. So I should just suck up and accept the story.
First: story -- sad, melancholy, humanistic but vaguely nihilistic. It's a story about enjoying the good times while you're young because you'll end up getting old and being burnt.
Second: font and typestyle -- I found the font bit small. Too tiny for tiny kids' eyes or for squinty grandparent's eyes.
Third: illustration -- beautiful, creative, ethnic tribal natural style, but somewhat cold. The illustrations don't really illustrate the story, they decorate it. Most kids would prefer seeing depictions of the various scenes and pictures of the characters mentioned.
Fourth: vocabulary -- an elementary school kid should be able to read this.
Upshot: I think this is a book for older people who like fairytales. Not for young kids.
I received this book free in exchange for a fair and honest review.