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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Josephine Poole is a master storyteller that weaves the well-known tale with elegance and magic, matched by Angela Barret's exquisite illustrations. This is by far and away my favourite version; every household should have a copy!