Rita Zobayan reviews Snow White and Rose Red: A Pop-Up Fairytale ($19.99, Tango Books; ages 5-7), by the Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Rachel Cloyne.
Long before Snow White sang with forest critters and took up with seven gentlemen of diminutive stature, the Brothers Grimm had written the original version of her story that is still prevalent in Europe today. Snow White and Rose Red is the traditional tale that does include a dwarf and a prince, but tells a deeper story of kindness in the face of ingratitude and of bravery in the face of danger.
Sisters Snow White and Rose Red live with their mother near a forest. They often venture into the forest and fields to gather food. When a talking bear visits them on a cold winter’s night, their simple lives are changed forever. Suddenly they are beset by a wicked dwarf, who often needs their help and yet shows them nothing but contempt.
There they found a Dwarf with an old wrinkled face and a long snow-white beard. The end of his beard was caught underneath a fallen tree…He glared at the girls with red fiery eyes and exclaimed, “Why do you stand there? Are you going to help me?”…
As soon as the Dwarf was freed he snatched his sack filled with gold, threw it over his shoulder and marched off, grumbling and crying, “Stupid people! To cut off a piece of my beautiful beard. Plague take you!”
Patient and kind, the sisters help the ungrateful dwarf three times. In each instance, we see young women who are capable, clever and confident. They do not turn from danger. They rely on their wits to help another, even when he, in turn, insults them and ultimately attempts to bargain their lives for his freedom.
Marvelously illustrated by Rachel Cloyne, this book features shades of black, white and red. Each page has 3-D pop-ups that are beautifully drawn. The artwork is striking in its detail, and captures the darkness of the time period and of the tale. It is truly a spectacular book for Halloween or any other time of year.