cover image Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs

Davide Cali, illus. by Raphaëlle Barbanègre. Tundra, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77049-763-4

In Cali’s cracked version of Snow White, the heroine takes refuge with 77 dwarfs with pointy hats and pointy beards in a crayon box of colors, but life with them is no picnic. “For starters, how was she going to learn all their names?” writes Cali (I Didn’t Do My Homework Because...) as Barbanègre blankets a spread with dwarfs announcing their names—Panache, Kiki, Bacon, etc. Snow White becomes responsible for meals, laundry, “beard maintenance,” and bedtime stories, and “helping” isn’t in the dwarfs’ vocabulary. She takes on an increasingly deranged and exhausted appearance in Barbanègre’s midcentury-flavored cartoons, until she’s had enough; offered a poisoned apple by the evil witch, Snow White screams, “I’ll take two!” The jokes hit their marks, and the book isn’t hurting for style any more than it’s hurting for dwarfs (Barbanègre’s work is downright heroic). But the glum reality is that the dwarfs remain selfish oafs (despite repeated claims that they are “kind,” there’s little evidence of this) and that Snow White’s best chance at a happy ending is voluntary unconsciousness. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)