How fate of the prototypes of most popular children’s books: ‘Peter Pan’, ‘The Snow Queen’, ‘Mary Poppins’, etc

The appearance of each book is facilitated not only by the talent and imagination of the writer but also by inspiration and often a real story underlying the creation. Children’s books are no exception.

Life stories and even tragedies, which fueled vivid emotions and the desire to convey all this to the reader, pushed the authors to create many of the favorite images of the authors. Unrequited love inspired Hans Christian Andersen to write the famous fairy tale “The Snow Queen”, and “Peter Pan” was dedicated to the beloved older brother of the writer James Matthew Barrie, who died.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan
Peter Pan

The work quickly won the hearts of children living in the UK, and then in the blink of an eye, spread throughout the world. Some experts joke that the book has become more famous than its author. The one who wrote such a fairy tale believed in the magic that exists in the real world. Children see it, but adults do not because they lost that gift when they grew up and became too down to earth. The book tells about a boy who did not want to grow up and stayed to live in a magical land.

The author of this children’s work was the British playwright James Matthew Barrie. The work lasted from 1901 to 1928. This included the novel “The White Bird”, the story “Peter Pan and Wendy”, “The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Grow Up” and more. These were not only books but also a play, a screenplay, a photo album, etc.

It is known that James Barrie was born in a large family and was the ninth child. The elder brother and mother’s favorite died unexpectedly at the age of 14 (the author was only 6 years old at the time). The fact is that he was skating and fell unsuccessfully, receiving a fatal head injury. Mother, killed by this loss, practically went crazy, and James did not leave her side, constantly comforting her.

Once, she said the phrase: “My David will always remain a little boy and will always be with me.” Then James came up with the idea to write a story about a boy who will never grow up but live in a magical land. However, this idea was only in his head for a long time, becoming a book only after meeting the Davis family. And their three children simply fascinated him. This family has become a strong inspiration for James Matthew Barrie.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins

It is known that the book “Mary Poppins” was written in 1934 by the writer Pamela Travers. Although in reality, this stage name was Helen Lyndon Goff. She decided to take it to herself at the age of 17. Her father had the surname Travers, and the girl loved him immensely. And the name Pamela seemed unusual to her.

The book immediately gained unprecedented popularity. Therefore, the writer eventually wrote a continuation of this story. The characters in the book are real people Helen knew. The prototype of Mr Banks was her own father, Robert Travers Goff. Helen was his favorite. He instilled in her a love of books, supported her daughter’s fantasies, and constantly joked. But her mother was a strict lady and often scolded Helen. “My father got drunk and soon died.” And the girl could not accept his death for a long time.

After her father’s death, the family moved in with Aunt Ellie. She was a relative by mother, who helped them not to die from lack of money, but also to raise children. Helen loved Aunt Ellie (Christina Saraset) very much, so every trip to her place was a real treat. Interestingly, Christina Saraset did not have a personal life. She fell in love with her cousin, but they were not destined to live together. Then she gave her unspent love to her nephews, of whom she had plenty. The aunt became the prototype of the best nanny in the world, Mary Poppins. Aunt Sass was Helen’s great aunt. She made the perfect English nanny – the perfection itself.

She loved children very much, but she was strict and lived by her own rules. She is brave, funny, shy, patient, and well-mannered. Mary Poppins knows everything. She also has a funny umbrella, and she can fly like a fairy.

Interestingly, the impetus for writing the book “Mary Poppins” was one story. Her friend asked to sit with the children while she went on urgent business. Pamela agreed and came up with a story for them about an unusual nanny. This lady always carried an umbrella with a parrot on the handle. And all her things fit in a small bag. In fact, Pamela reflected herself in this story too. She created a magical image of an English lady who believes in miracles and is not afraid of any change. In addition, she does not share information about herself and her opinion with others. That’s what Helen was like.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

This famous book was written by the English writer Lewis Carroll in 1865. True, under this pseudonym a certain Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was hiding. This story is somewhat different from others. Experts are sure that several facts influenced the plot and some details of the tale. First, the writer was a professor of mathematics. Therefore, there are complex riddles and hints that Alice must solve. Secondly, Charles suffered from severe headaches and Alice syndrome. This is when hallucinations occur that suggest that the dimensions of one’s own body have been changed. Sometimes the objects that surround a person change. Therefore, the book traces the distortion of space and time.

The prototype of the fairy tale’s main character was a real girl who was a source of inspiration and love for the writer (as a daughter). The fact is that Carroll once met the Liddell family. Charles was very fond of children and knew how to find an approach to them. When he came to their house, he often played with them in their room. It was fun and exciting. The youngest of them, four-year-old Alice, was especially dear to Carroll.

One day they were all boating together in the park, and Charles, to make the walk interesting, came up with a story about the unusual journey of the girl Alice. Everyone, and especially Alice Liddell, liked the tale very much, and she asked to write a sequel. So the little girl became the main character. And the fairy tale “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” was born.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen

It is known that the famous book “The Snow Queen” was written by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. He was a talented man, whose fairy tales were very popular with children. Who doesn’t remember “The Ugly Duckling” or “Thumbelina”, “The Princess and the Pea” or “The Little Mermaid”? He was born in 1805 to a poor family.

Hans grew up as a very emotional and nervous little boy. He had a special relationship with his father. They loved to walk in the park together. And every night his father read him one fairy tale from a huge old book. The boy often plunged into the world of magic and adventure.

One winter, the boy stood at the window and watched the frost draw a woman stretching out her arms to him. At first, he thought that this person had come for him, and he joked ironically. But when his father died, his mother said that the Ice Maiden had taken him. His father died when Hans was 11 years old, and the boy took this loss hard. Hans began to believe that losses were inevitable with the advent of cold from now on.

Andersen published “The Snow Queen” in 1844. It consisted of 7 stories that were interconnected. Experts name several prototypes of this fairy tale. The fearless girl Gerda is Lizbeth’s little neighbor, with whom the author often played and considered his sister. She was one of the first listeners to the stories of little Hans.

The prototype of the Snow Queen is Jenny Lind. This is an opera singer from Sweden, whom Andersen fell in love with without memory. The woman was beautiful and had many admirers among men. However, Lind did not accept Andersen’s attention, considering him a friend or brother. Hans never married. And Jenny’s coldness became the prototype of the Snow Queen with an insensitive look and an icy heart. The fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” also has its secrets.

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