About the Authors
Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) was born in Odense, Denmark, the son of a poor shoemaker and a washerwoman. As a young teenager, he became quite well known in Odense as a reciter of drama and as a singer. When he was fourteen, he set off for the capital, Copenhagen, determined to become a national success on the stage. He failed miserably, but made some influential friends in the capital who got him into school to remedy his lack of proper education. In 1829 his first book was published. After that, books came out at regular intervals. His stories began to be translated into English as early as 1846. Since then, numerous editions, and more recently Hollywood songs and Disney cartoons, have helped to ensure the continuing popularity of the stories in the English-speaking world.
Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898), English author, mathematician, and photographer. One of eleven children of a scholarly country parson, he studied mathematics at Oxford, obtained a university post, and then was ordained as a deacon but found true success with his masterpiece, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, now known as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which originated as a story told to a young friend, Alice Liddell, during a boating trip on the Thames. Among his other works are Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, The Hunting of the Snark, and Jabberwocky.
Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors’ prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic characters.
Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was a German philologist, jurist, and mythologist. He is known as the discoverer of Grimm’s law (linguistics), the co-author with his brother Wilhelm of the monumental Deutsches Wörterbuch, the author of Deutsche Mythologie and, more popularly, as one of the Brothers Grimm and the editor of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Charles Perrault (1628–1703) was a French author and intellectual. Known as a founding writer of the fairy tale genre, he rewrote numerous folk tales, including Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Blue Beard, and Puss in Boots. His stories, which continue to enjoy worldwide acclaim, have been adapted to opera, ballet, theater, and film.
Lyman Frank Baum (1856–1919), born in Chittenango, New York, was a journalist, dramatist, and writer best known for his fantasies about the land of Oz, the first being The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The success of this book led to his writing thirteen sequels. He wrote about sixty books in all, mostly for children.
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30th, 1874, in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Although she lived during a time when few women received a higher education, Lucy attended Prince Wales College in Charlottestown, PEI, and then Dalhousie University in Halifax. At seventeen she went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to write for a newspaper, the Halifax Chronicle, and for its evening edition, the Echo. But Lucy returned to live with her grandmother in Cavendish, PEI, where she taught and contributed stories to magazines. It was this experience, along with the lives of her farmer and fisherfolk neighbors, that came alive when she wrote her Anne books, beginning with Anne of Green Gables (1908). Anne of Green Gables brought her overnight success and international recognition. It was followed by eight other books about Anne and Avonlea, as well as a number of other delightful novels, including her Emily series, which began in 1923 with Emily of New Moon. But it is her delightful heroine Anne Shirley, praised by Mark Twain as “the most moving and delightful child of fiction since the immortal Alice,” who remains a popular favorite throughout the world. She and her husband, the Rev. Ewen MacDonald, eventually moved to Ontario. Lucy Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924) was an English-born author of romances and books for children. After moving to America in 1865, she established a popular reputation with the publication of That Lass o’ Lowrie’s in 1877. She is best known for such novels as Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.
George Zarr is an award-winning audio dramatist currently based in Chicago. He is the producer, writer, director, and composer of the Hans Christian Andersen musical The Bell, the four-part comedy Hurry! Hurry! It’s Almost Christmas, the mystery collection Dark of the Moon Inn, and the Western comedy musical serial Hoofbeats in My Heart, all four available from Blackstone Publishing.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1848) transformed the American literary landscape with his innovations in the short story genre and his haunting lyrical poetry, and he is credited with inventing American gothic horror and detective fiction. He was first published in 1827 and then began a career as a magazine writer and editor and a sharp literary critic. In 1845 the publication of his most famous poem, “The Raven,” brought him national fame.
About the Narrators
Greg Watanabe is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.
Barbara Rosenblat, one of the most awarded narrators in the business, was selected by AudioFile magazine as one of the Golden Voices of the Twentieth Century. She has received the prestigious Audie Award multiple times and has earned more than fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards. She has also appeared in film, television, and theater, both in London’s West End and on Broadway.
Megan Follows is a Canadian actress whose career has spanned the stage, TV, and film. She was cast as Anne Shirley in the 1985 highly popular CBC-TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables (as well as its two sequels). The part of “Anne” was a coveted role that she won over 3,000 other young girls when director, producer, and writer Kevin Sullivan chose her despite early worries during the audition process that she might be too old for the part. The miniseries, wholly produced in Canada, became successful around the world, and remains to this day the highest-rated drama in Canadian television history. Her performances earned her two Gemini Awards as best actress for the first two miniseries, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel, and a Gemini nomination for the third Anne installment, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.
Michael Crouch is an actor based in New York City. His audiobook narration has won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, and Best of the Year accolades from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. He can also be heard on national commercials, cartoons, video games, and the animé series Pokémon XY and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.