Hans Christian Andersen The Perfect Wizard by Jane Yolen (illustrated by Dennis Nolan, Dutton, $16.99). The gifted and prolific Jane Yolen, once dubbed "the American Hans Christian Andersen" by Newsweek magazine, offers a beautifully written picture biography about the childhood of the storyteller whose 200th birthday was marked April 2. Using an economy of words and a richness of language, she deftly tells the colorful, fascinating story of Andersen's difficult childhood and his conscious quest as a teenager to rise above his humble beginnings to become famous, whether as a ballet dancer, actor or finally, a great writer. Nolan's gorgeous paintings are done in subtle pastel colors that convey an otherworldly, fairytale magic. This is a beautiful book, suitable for all ages.
-- Jean Westmoore