A Blog for the Master's of Information Sciences Program
Title: Snow White
Author: Josephine Poole
Illustrator: Angela Barrett
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication year: 1991
Brief Summary: A more gentle retelling of the classic fairy tale of Snow White.
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – While I realize this book was published in 1991, I believe that fairy tales are still important to relate to children. In learning fairy tales of miscellaneous cultures , we gain an understanding of our combined culture (specifically here in America), not just tales of morality. While Disney is the sort of standard for learning about fairy tales, children should be able to also absorb them from books like this one. If fairy tales are being talked about in say kindergarten, or preschool, this would be a great book to relate along with the sanitized Disney versions. However, I understand that there is a lack of diversity in this version of Snow White. All the characters are white here, Snow White herself, the Evil Queen, the dwarfs, even the prince. I still think this could be useful in the classroom today only if it is paired with/in conjunction with a Snow White story with diversity/diverse characters or a variation of the folktale in another culture, such as Alaska’s Snow White and Her Seven Sled Dogs by Mindy Dwyer, which is a variation of the fairy tale. Similarly, there is Snow White (Once Upon a World) by Chole Perkins and illustrated by Misa Saburi, which is a Japanese retelling of the folktale.
Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – I was interested to read this version of Snow White and the version called Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Randall Jarrell and illustrated Nancy Ekholm Burkett after our reading of Perry Nodelman’s “How Picture Books Work” article. The illustrations in this book are stunning. They really land the reader into the folkloric landscape. There is a rich contrast in the artwork between light and dark, which is of course central to the story. This is evidenced in the first two pages. On the very first page, there is the lovely young queen leaning out the window, looking out at a mountainous, snowy landscape, but inside the castle we can feel the warm glow of a fire, even though it is not seen, we only see the light as pools around the queen, the woven rug, and the other rooms we can see from an open doorway. Contrast this cozy scene with the turning of the page. On the next spread there is the Evil Queen, looking into her mirror, a blood red bed and canopy behind her, dark furniture and a twilight background complete with black flying birds in the sky. There is quite a bit of text on the pages, but it is in conjunction with the illustrations, and as we have learned in this class, children can comprehend more than we (as adults) give them credit for. Many of the pages have small illustration panels that are just as intricate as the full page spreads.