On this day in 1805, author & poet Hans Christian Andersen was born in Denmark. Best known for his fairy tales (of which there are over 150) Disney fans know his work through the animated adaptations The Little Mermaid and The Little Matchgirl.
Andersen's first collection of fairy tales (published in 1835) broke new ground for Danish literature with his style and use of idiom, irony, and humor. The book was a success, and he followed it with many other volumes.
"The Little Matchgirl," about a girl who dies selling matches on a cold New Year's Eve, was first published in 1845. Disney's Matchgirl got its start back in 2002 due to Roy Disney's intent on including it in a Fantasia sequel - which at the time was called The Music Project. The Little Matchgirl eventually came together as a short (with no dialogue - just music) and debuted at Annecy in France in June 2006. It went on to win Best Film For Children at the 17th Festival of Animated Films.
Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea for the love of a human, was first published in 1837. Disney's 1989 hit The Little Mermaid is based on Andersen's original tale which he first wrote in 1836. So popular is the story that a statue of Little Mermaid has been sitting on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor since 1913!
Andersen's other well-known tales include "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Emperor's New Clothes." His stories have been translated into well over 150 languages.
April 2 is International Children's Book Day.
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