Dear Mr. Andersen:
Thank you for sharing your manuscript of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" with us. We apologize for any delay in responding, but we receive a large volume of submissions every week. Unfortunately, our editors has decided that this project is not right for us now.
The premise of "Tin Soldier" is a strong one, as the Toy Story movies have shown. The text offers many illustration opportunities--we especially like the scene with the rat customs officer in the sewer. Though the main character seems to have few facial expressions, we feel that a skilled artist could find ways to express a variety of moods. It's also refreshing to see that, although your protagonist is missing a leg, the story does not revolve around "fixing" that situation.
That said, we feel the story would leave young readers with many serious questions and concerns, producing a less than satisfying experience for families. The main character is essentially passive, and the paper ballerina does little to make herself interesting. The action seems to be driven by the imp's motiveless mischief rather than arising from the little soldier's desires.
We always like our books to leave young readers with a sense of hope. The return of the soldier through the fish does that, outlandish as the coincidence may be, but we don't see how most children will maintain that hope after both the soldier and ballerina are burned in the stove. Especially when the soldier is thrown into that fire by a child for "no reason." We suspect that you meant the molten tin heart to symbolize the survival of the soldier's love. However, we don't think that children would find that a reassuring conclusion.
As you know, different publishers have different needs. We wish you every success in placing this project elsewhere.