Snow White

Snow White

A Tale From the Brothers Grimm

Book - 2010
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Retells the tale of the beautiful princess whose lips were red as blood, skin was white as snow, and hair was black as ebony.
Publisher: New York : Sterling Pub. Co., 2010
ISBN: 9781402771576
1402771576
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 30 cm

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FindingJane Jun 07, 2017

While I have never been a fan of this particular overly-trusting and snooze-prone heroine, she does a lot more than Princess Aurora who never does anything but injure herself and sleep for a hundred years. Frightened away by her stepmother’s attempted assassination, Snow White earns her keep with the seven little men, cooking, cleaning and keeping house for them. Her beauty is matched only by her sweet nature and willingness to work for her living. Can’t fault her for that.

In this instance, this old Grimm chestnut is accompanied by lavish illustrations. Mr. Santore has chosen to set his story within the Renaissance period, somewhere in the Flemish region, circa the 15th century. Snow White’s mother sews elaborate embroidery, sporting a lavish headpiece. The evil stepmother concocts her portions while wearing ornate dress, including a handsomely twined headdress, multiple rings and a jeweled neckpiece hung with pendants. Her mystic chamber features a book with period drawings and runes.

The pictures aren’t merely pretty however. They pace alongside the story in subtle but telling ways. The stepmother’s instructions to the Huntsman are accompanied by a long, menacing shadow cast over the hapless Snow. The helpless little girl’s entry into the forest shows her with harmless woodland creatures (rabbits, mice and deer). But her flight is accompanied by dangerous predatory beasts: wolf, boar, lynx, owl and bear.

Snow White progresses from being a little girl to growing magically in her glass coffin to a young woman. (Weird but you accept it. It’d be odd for a prince to fall in love with a little girl, especially a dead one.) The Flemish inspiration for the story’s illustrations is brought home on the penultimate pages, with a sly nod and wink to Jan Van Eyck’s famous painting “Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife” (1434), including the detail of a pair of shoes featured in that self-same portrait.

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