Publishers WeeklyDelessert (I Hate to Read) reveals what happens to the famous septet after Snow White wakes up; as she prepares to wed the prince the diminutive heroes are invited to be honored guests. The drama of the vengeful queen and her loquacious mirror becomes a long flashback; Stephane, the strongest-minded of the seven brothers, carefully considers the prince's offer that the dwarves take up residence at the palace. Dazzled by court life, the seven siblings nevertheless come to see that royal pageantry is not for them. Back in the forest, they eat leftover wedding cake. Dense type and arch prose ("Well, l'habit fait le moine " says the palace tailor as he adjusts the dwarves' newly fashioned courtly attire) set the volume apart from other lavishly illustrated fairy tales and mark its appeal to an older audience. So do Delessert's paintings. Grotesque and delicate at the same time, they dwell on the dwarves' fantastically outsize noses and gap-toothed grins. A hallucinogenic tableau of wedding festivities shows a dancer poised on a rhinoceros's horn while carrying a tray of tuba-playing elephants. Fanciful, cinematic moments will intrigue older readers (as the other dwarves sleep, Stephane gazes moodily out the palace window at the swans), while this unique twist on the universally known tale will divert younger listeners. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's LiteratureHere's a new look at Snow White's story, "as told by Stephane, Duke of the Forest in the Autumn of 1614." He's one of the dwarfs, who in this book have names and personalities that are definitely not from Disney. Beginning with the excitement of being invited to the wedding, and enjoying the luxuries offered them at the palace, Stephane looks back to Snow White's arrival at their cottage and the events leading to her awakening by the prince. His sober summary looks at the story with some familiar details along with some interesting new points. After the splendid wedding and much thought, the dwarfs decline an invitation to stay on at the castle, for "We will always be out of place in this world." Although this is more an illustrated book than a typical picture book because of the extensive text, the many full-page and several double-page illustrations along with frequent vignettes, slightly stylized but naturalistic, offer a cast of characters rich with psychological insights as well as settings ripe with the fruits of the artist's imagination. The cloth binding and elegant design show careful overall production attention. 2001, Creative Editions, $17.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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