Fairy Tales have never disappeared from our collective memory. Disney keeps updating them for us and re-releasing them every few years so it’s difficult to forget. But over the past few months, there’s been a considerable resurgence on TV, in theaters, and on bookshelves. ABC’s Once Upon A Time, NBC’s Grimm, and two new Snow White movies (Mirror, Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman) are just a few of the fairy tales remixed for your viewing pleasure. Since we’re librarians, we thought it would be fun to take a look at those fairy tales retold via the written word. First up, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
Bianca de Nevada is born on a farm in Tuscany in 1495, and when she is seven, her father is ordered by the duplicitous Cesare Borgia to go on a quest to reclaim the relic of the original Tree of Knowledge, a branch bearing three living apples that are thousands of years old. Bianca is left in the care of her father’s farm staff and the beautiful — and madly vain — Lucrecia Borgia, Cesare’s sister. But Lucrecia becomes jealous of her lecherous brother’s interest in the growing child and plots a dire fate for Bianca in the woods below the farm. There Bianca finds herself in the home of seven dwarves — the creators of the magic mirror — who await the return of their brother, the eighth dwarf, long gone on a quest of his own.
The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects (#2) by Michael Buckley
The Sisters Grimm start school at Ferryport Landing Elementary. Daphne’s lucky enough to get Snow White for a teacher—she loves little people—but poor Sabrina’s stuck with Mr. Grumpner and a class of mildly psychotic sixth graders. When Mr. Grumpner is found hanging in a spider’s web, it is up to the Grimms to find the Everafter who did it. Start at the beginning of the Sisters Grimm series with The Fairy Tale Detectives.
Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino
Examines the life of Snow White’s stepmother, the Wicked Queen, to find out just what it is that makes her so evil that she would want to cut out her teenage step-daughter’s heart and have it delivered in a locked keepsake box.
Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All by Jane Yolen
Recasts the tale of Snow White, setting it in West Virginia in the 1940s with a stepmother who is a snake-handler.
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
In a land where beauty and singing are valued above all else, Aza eventually comes to reconcile her unconventional appearance and her magical voice, and learns to accept herself for who she truly is.
More Fairy Tale Fun:
- Two Snow White Quizzes – #1 | #2 via The Guardian
- SurLaLune Fairy Tales – A great website filled with fairy tale goodness created and updated by librarian Heidi Anne Heiner. You can read the annotated Snow White tale, take a look at even more modern retellings, and find out about similar tales across cultures.
- 10 Creepy Details Glossed Over by Modern Versions of Fairy Tales via io9.com
- Creating Fairy Tales – Wonderful photos on Flickr
- Another Bite of the Poisoned Apple: Why Does Pop Culture Love Fairy Tales Again? via TIME Entertainment
- Snow White by Kay Vandergrift – An academic look at the tale.
- Snow-White by D.L. Ashliman – Translated and edited Snow White tales from different cultures.
What are we missing? Share your favorite Snow White remixes in the comments! We’ve also started a Fairy Tales Pinterest board, be sure to check it out. Stop by next month for a look at retellings of Cinderella!