cover image Snow White

Snow White

Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob W. Grimm. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-82656-9

Exquisite endpapers set the tone for this elegant version of one of the most-loved fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm: a leafless ebony tree stands in stark relief against a sweeping expanse of snow, the whiteness of which is marred by a single drop of blood. Echoing the central image of this classic tale of contrasts (good and evil, innocence and cruelty, youth and age, beauty and ugliness of spirit), Barrett's images unfold in a twilight world of ethereal beauty anchored by telling detail, from the moonlight reflected in the creek by the dwarves' cottage to the evil-looking poison comb the disguised queen offers Snow White. Poole's version of the lovely young princess and her vindictive stepmother remains faithful to the original, and enchants with its unassuming prose. The artwork's overall tone is sophisticated and somewhat remote, placing the book beyond the reach of younger readers, but this is nonetheless a fairy tale in the grand tradition, and an exemplary marriage of illustration and narrative. All ages. (Nov.)