Snow White, illustrated by Charles Santore (Park Lane Press, a division of Random House)
These are gorgeous, detailed illustrations that look like paintings based on real-life models.
I love the opening image of the queen doing her needlework glancing longingly out onto a snowy landscape, a warm, rough-woven shawl and a grey tabby to keep her company.
The illustrations are beautiful. The style of the piece has a medieval flair with a central courtyard surrounded by a high wall (castle wall?) with turrets and a boxwood garden where Snow White plays.
Santore has captured the innocence and sweetness and most importantly, the youth of Snow White, who is only seven years old when the new Queen decides she must die. That’s something Disney doesn’t get right. Disney’s Snow looks WAY too old already to be a child, let alone to fit in the dwarves’ small home.
There is so much action in the forest with wild boars, wolves, bears, birds, even a red-spotted gecko which is great (and unexpected). The forest she finds herself in FEELS like a German forest, tucked away in the tall evergreens in the shadow of the mountains.
The seven dwarves are my favorite part of the book. They look size-appropriate for the book and each one is distinct but looks like a real person. I feel like maybe I’ve seen the models for these characters in films somewhere. They’re just so true to life.
One plot point that this version of Snow White gets right is the multiple visits by the evil queen and the methods she uses to try and kill Snow. Laces to strangle her, a poisoned comb, and finally, the infamous apple.
I love SW’s expression as her curiosity outweighs her caution at the pro-offering of the apple by the old crone. She’s such a sweet child and so easily tricked.
One thing that puzzles me about this version (and perhaps other versions along this vein) is the idea of the passage of time after SW dies. We all know that the dwarves build a coffin for her. But, a coffin is built for a certain size — her child body.
When the prince discovers her, years later, she’s grown in beauty and stature. She has an adult body. How is it that she still fits in her bowery bed, and how do the dwarves not notice her changed appearance? Wouldn’t they have figured out that she’s in an enchanted sleep?
Despite this plot point which I still don’t get, it’s a beautiful rendition of the Snow White classic and worthy for your personal collection.
If you like this book illustrated by Charles Santore, you may also like some of his other titles:
- Aesop’s Fables
- The Little Mermaid
- William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lilies