When I was a little girl, my aunt gave me a copy of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales. It was a big book with a beautiful blue binding and full color illustrations, and I spent a couple of years with that book on my nightstand so I could read and re-read it. Not because I loved the stories, really. I loved Laura Ingalls and Charlie Bucket and Harriet the Spy. I kept reading Hans Christian Andersen because the stories scared me. They horrified me just enough to keep me coming back for more.
“The Snow Queen” freaked me out, and “The Little Match Girl” was terribly sad . . . but no story had a hold on my imagination quite like “The Red Shoes.”