Thumb Alena Illustrated Novel Project 

If you’ve heard the version of Thumbelina with a tiny, obedient, and helpless girl at the mercy of toads, who awaits rescue from one child marriage after another, drifts without aim through the woods, and is unable to do anything but be beautiful, then you haven’t heard the real story.

The real story has a diminutive protagonist, yes. But it also has enchantments and poison, damselflies and reckless escapes, spider’s silk and disguises and redemption. There is no helpless drifting on the part of our heroine. And if there is a happy ending to be had, it won’t be won by virtue of her being pretty and waiting to be saved.

It may seem odd that the original story was watered down into the rather disappointing ‘Thumbelina’ tale we grew up with. But let it be your first lesson on an unfortunate (and important to acknowledge) fact: history has a tendency to erase the victories of those who are strange, and small, and don’t belong.

 

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