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Snow-White (Red Fox Picture Books) [Paperback]

Josephine Poole , Angela Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Nov 1993 Red Fox Picture Books

'Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who is the fairest of us all?'

the mirror answered,

'Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true, But Snow White is fairer than you. '

When the wicked queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the forest, kill her and bring back her heart as proof, he is so taken by her beauty that he spares her. Venturing into the depths of the forest, Snow White finds a little house belonging to a family of dwarves who take her in. However, when the queen discovers that Snow White is still alive she is furious and again takes up her mission to do away with fairest maiden in the land.

This is a fresh and enchanting retelling of a classic children's story with breath-taking illustrations.

Product details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox (18 Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009918561X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099185611
  • Product Dimensions: 26.6 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

This well-known entreaty by the evil queen is where any fundamental similarity between the Disney version of Snow White and this lovely interpretation begins and ends. Grimm's fairy tale is familiar, but the subtlety, respect and mystery of this new version are unique, as are the depth of characterisation and plot. Barrett's rich, gorgeous illustrations serve as a stunning backdrop to the reinvented drama and contribute to the more sophisticated feel of this rendition. The seven dwarfs, for example, are not depicted as freakish slow-witted anomalies; they are simply small, kind men. One of the most haunting images of the book is of Snow White running through the dark forest, translucent white gown flowing, scratches from the brambles barely visible on her legs, wild animals racing along beside her as comrades and protectors.

This author-illustrator pair also collaborated on the highly acclaimed Joan of Arc. Barrett's illustrations (also seen in The Emperor's New Clothes and other books) have an elegant, luminescent appeal, ideal for the romance of a fairy tale. Readers of any age will be mesmerised by the exquisite interweaving of Poole's and Barrett's art. (Ages 5 to 10) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Josephine Poole was born in London. Her first children's book, A Dream in the House was published by Hutchinson in 1961, after the birth of her second child, and she has continued to published highly acclaimed children's book ever since. She lives in Somerset with her husband. Angela Barrett studied illustration at the Royal College of Art and after graduating in 1980, she began an acclaimed career in children's book illustration. Angela was winner of the Smarties Award in 1988. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine version of the tale 14 May 2008
Snow White is of course one of the most famous of fairy tales, but labours under the heavy shadow of Disney and his Hollywood dwarves and their Heigh Hos. This rendering well and truly escapes from that shadow, returning to the dark original for its text and illustrative inspiration.

The primeval forest that covered much of northern Europe in ancient times is shown in gloomy detail. The dwarves here are no jolly band of merry andrews but shown first as a grave company of witnesses to Snow White's exhaustion after being abandoned in the forest, and then as recipients of her newly-found housewifely skills, sitting round a table by a wonderfully mosaiced fireplace. The scene where Snow White's hair is combed with a poisoned comb is poignant and tense.

The colours uses by the illustrator are all sombre ones - plum, dark green and shades of brown - until the scene where the prince gazes on Snow White in her coffin. Here is great contrast of light and dark as a wise owl looks on, and then the final scene of a people-filled gazebo is suffused with light as the happy couple sails away to the horizon.

A rich version of this legend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 Aug 2014
By tays
Excellent product
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 21 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An exquisite retelling of the story. My only quibble is I would prefer it to be hardback and the package had been damaged by water that got through to a small corner of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snow White by Josephine Poole & Angela Barrett--SUPERB! 30 Jan 2003
By brainiacbooks - Published on
The cover image stopped me in my tracks at the bookstore, and I bought multiple copies. The young woman at the checkout counter was mesmerized by the image as well. The illustrations inside equal or surpass the one on the cover.

The images are detailed but not fussy. They are highly evocative of German Romanticism -- very moody, dreamy, somewhat melancholy, with an emphasis on the grandeur of Nature. If you enjoy the illustrations of Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, Arthur Rackham, et al., you will like this book.

Like Barrett's artwork, Poole's text tells the classic tale soberly, including the queen's botched attempts to strangle Snow White with silken laces and prick her with a poison comb. There is also more mention of Snow White's mother and father than in many retellings. This version is certainly more in line with magical/mystical/matriarchal imagery than Disney's.

Some of the images -- e.g., drops of blood -- and the story itself may be too intense for very young readers. For me, this book is a contemporary gem and is worth seeking out.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dreamy somber illustrations & haunting story 20 Nov 2004
By Kotori - Published on
SO many things to love about this book, this version of Snow White. It's not sanitized, the binding on the inside is a two page spread of a glossy ebony tree, against spellbinding white snow and one stain of red blood - every single image is exquisite, I could describe them all poetically.

As usual the young queen bears a girl and dies, the king remarries a "superlatively beautiful queen", who "also had a proud heart and a greedy, jealous temper".

So the story goes on as usual, but is somehow injected with new Excitement! new Pathos.

Although snow white is supremely silly, and the prince falls in love far too easily, the Dwarves are excellently drawn & written.

Instead of being humorous shovel-totting twats they're just stolid kindly woodsmen who grow fond of poor young SW.

The story is retold very nicely and fresh, but it is the paintings that make this book priceless.

Every single page is a peek into an enchanted world, moody romantic & mysterious.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful! Something for everyone! 18 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I read the story as a youngster and I never ever forgot this haunting retelling of the classic fairy tale. I am delighted that the book is back in print so my children will be able to enjoy it in the future. The illustrations are breathtaking! Don't pass this one up!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memorable and brooding 11 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on
I first came across the book when I was in 6th grade. I had never seen the story illustrated or told in such a way before. The memory has haunted me for nearly seven years now. It will be one to share with my own children.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who is the Fairest of Us All...?" 13 Dec 2013
By R. M. Fisher - Published on
"Snow White" is one of our most popular fairytales, which means that there are hundreds of different versions out there, each one with its own pros and cons. But for my money, I think the collaboration between Josephine Poole and Angela Barrett is one of the best, with lovely prose combined with delicate illustrations.

Poole's retelling is one of the best I've read, for she not only faithfully adapts the story found in the Brothers Grimm, but adds little details of her own here and there. Most versions of the story omit the fact that the Evil Queen made two attempts on Snow White's life before the apple: first by suffocating her with corset strings, then by placing a poisoned comb in her hair. Poole keeps this threefold aspect of the Queen's assassination attempt, and also keeps such details as the poisoned apple being divided into two halves (one poisoned red half, the other an ordinary white half), the fact that Snow White is not awoken by a kiss, but by her glass coffin being jolted on its way down the mountainside, and even the inclusion of an owl, a raven and dove coming to mourn Snow White after her apparent death. All these details are part of the earliest Snow White stories as recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Most of them are exorcised in recent retellings, but reinstated here, adding to the sense of meaning and symbolism prevalent in all our oldest fairytales.

There's only one significant change. The Brothers Grimm version of the story has the Evil Queen punished at Snow White's wedding by being forced to wear red-hot iron slippers, caught in a terrible agonising dance until she falls down dead. Here the Queen hears of Snow White's wedding to the prince and prepares a rose with poisoned thorns: on seeing Snow White so beautiful and happy, she squeezes the deadly rose and is killed by her own poison when the thorns pierce her skin. It's poetic justice without being as gruesome as the original ending.

Poole also adds little minutiae of her own, such as the fact that Snow White's mother pricked her finger whilst leaning out her window to hear the King's hunting horn, and that the seven dwarfs become councillors to Snow White and her husband. It takes the bare bones of the Brothers Grimm tale and gives it life.

Then there's Angela Barrett's illustrations. She long been one of my favourite artists, and is at the top of her game here. Setting the story in a mingling of Medieval and Georgian periods, the illustrations are replete with beautiful details and potent symbolism. Wild animals prowl the forests, patterns are carved into the wooden furniture, statues and broken masonry litter the forest floor.

Some of the compositions are ingenuous: the illustration that depicts Snow White's mother pricking her finger has her leaning out of her window: one half of the page shows the interior of the castle, divided down the centre by a cross-section of the wall, with the other half depicting the snowy view of the mountainside, complete with the Queen's drops of blood just visible in the snow. It's gorgeous. There is a two-page spread of Snow White's flight into the forest, her panic reflected in the dash of wolves and wildcats all around her, and later the tragedy of her death is depicted by a wide view of the dark forest, her glass coffin no bigger than a fingernail in its midst. If I have one quibble, it's that Snow White's lips aren't as red as they should be, but that's so minor that I'm almost embarrassed to have mentioned it.

This is one of my favourite versions of the Snow White fairytales; perhaps even the quintessential one. It hits all the right notes of the fairytale and adds a few fresh details, and Barrett's illustrations are glorious as always (see also, her version of Beauty and the Beast). Perhaps a bit long for very young readers, children age seven and up will enjoy this retelling and its accompanying art work.
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