cover image Not Quite Snow White

Not Quite Snow White

Ashley Franklin, illus. by Ebony Glenn. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-279860-2

Tameika is a die-hard song-and-dance gal, and the world (including her own backyard) is her stage. Now, having played a cucumber, a space cowgirl, a dinosaur, and a mermaid, she’s going to audition for the biggest school play role yet: the lead in the musical Snow White. But when she overhears her peers gossiping (“She’s too tall.” “She’s much too chubby.” “And she’s too brown.”), Tameika’s strong will wavers. “Maybe she was wrong for wanting to be this princess,” debut author Franklin writes. Enter Tameika’s parents, who give her the encouragement she needs (“You’re just enough of all the right stuff”) to knock ’em dead at the audition. With earnestness and plenty of heart (and offering subtle assurances throughout that Tameika is no prima donna), the creators adroitly make the girl’s problem feel less overwhelming, smartly emphasizing her passion and empowerment. Digital illustrations by Glenn (Mommy’s Khimar) are forthright in portraying Tameika’s talent, ambition, and the joy both bring her. It’s refreshing to see female confidence portrayed without a single “aw, shucks” moment, and important to be reminded that there’s no one right way to be a princess. Ages 4–8. [em](July) [/em]