September 16, 2018

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall


It turns out the tale of "Snow White" is one that has crept up on me. I don't think I realized how much I appreciated the story––namely it's tone and aesthetic possibilities––until I really started looking at how different illustrators render the tale: it's much more open to interpretation than one would think. Like with the story of "Little Red Riding Hood," there is a built in color so to speak of red for the apple, and watching illustrators take that one detail and apply their own twists is fascinating. Here are my favorites published within the last ten or so years.

Click on these book covers to poke around, and don't forget, you can see all of my favorite fairytales here!

     

360° Book: Snow White

Illustrated by Yusuke Oono and Seigensha

This 3.5" x 3.5" book essentially captures the essence of "Snow White" by showing a 360° view of one scene. This kind of book is called a carousel book––or a 360 book––because you touch the front and back covers to form a circle with the book (some carousel books even have ribbons to tie the front and back together). The cut-outs are exquisite, and the book sticks with a simple color palette of green, white, and red to keep everything universal and concise, with one side of each page green and one side white. The book itself comes inside a slightly larger container for easy storage.

 




Written by Chloe Perkins and illustrated by Misa Saburi

Part of the Once Upon a World board book series, Snow White tells readers the traditional tale of "Snow White" through a Japanese culture lens. Saburi's illustrations mirror Japanese brush-and-ink drawings, so the lines are bold and dark, taking precedence over the colored areas. The colored areas are also magnificent, though, with bright patterns and splotchy pink cherry blossoms. 




Illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia

True to form, Camille Rose Garcia provides a darker, more twisted look at the fairy tale. Featuring a mixture of full-bleed illustrations, smaller vignettes, impeccably designed fonts that take up whole pages, and gold-leaf embellishments, this version of the tale stands out as a a favorite for me. The painted illustrations are as bright as they are dark, with strong contrasting colors that give Snow White the lead in every image but allow for more sinister drawings in the backgrounds.






Illustrated by Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan takes Snow White into the Roaring Twenties in this comic. Our Snow White is a flapper named Samantha who works with seven street urchins to uncover the mysterious evil doings of her stepmother, the Queen of the Follies. A mysterious stock ticker holds captivates the stepmother and urges her to kill the other person in town who is "more beautiful" than she is, and Samantha barely escapes with her life. The illustrations are pencil, ink, and watercolor, giving the images a mysterious and cinematic tone.








Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Raphaëlle Barbanègre

In this fractured fairy tale, Snow White is on the run from an evil witch when she comes across some dwarfs in the forest. Only instead of seven dwarves, there are seventy-seven and they are wearing Snow White out fast! Maybe it's worth taking a chance with the witch...The colors are vibrant, Snow White's facial expressions are laugh-out-loud funny, and the ending has a twist you won't see coming!











Illustrated by Momo Takano

Takano's illustrations are reminiscent of creators like Jutta Ash and Pamela Zagarenski, with large characters and intricate backgrounds. Takano definitely has a quirky style, though: the evil stepmother wears a fish hat on her head, the seven dwarfs are little woodland foods and animals (like a banana and a lion), and all of the characters have highly disproportionate bodies, with large heads and tiny hands. She embellishes every bit of her illustrations, which are all full-bleeds and extend past the borders of each spread, and the colors are very dense, soaking into the pages they're on and drawing readers in with them.













Written by Stella Gurney and illustrated by Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumberac

Described as having "flaps to open, wheels to turn, and a spell-binding pop-up scene," this padded rendition of the tale is truly fun and interactive. The book features a cast listing at the front and walks readers through the tale with giant cardboard pages filled with flaps and wheels. The "sidebars" on each spread are designed to look like parchment paper, and that's where the textual story lies, often with its own spot illustrations or embellishments. The illustrations definitely have a slightly sister tone, with cobwebs in every corner and dark, pupil-less eyes, but then again, the story itself is pretty sinister and the bright colors help alleviate the darkness.








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