In this dark, genre-defying picture-book adaptation of Snow White, acclaimed artist Beatrice Alemagna tells the story from the point of view of the jealous stepmother queen, to complicate the question of goodness and set into high relief the shadow side, with its capacity for evil, of human life.
Once upon a time, a child was born with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony: the princess Snow White. She is possessed of beauty and innocence, but there in the shadows lurks a queen who will remarry her widower father, a queen who is as empty and envious, as narcissistic and fractured as is every life that gets stuck in the endless reflecting pool or mirror of the self. Void of love, it is hatred that animates her.
But like all true fairy tales, this story doesn't ask us to judge and condemn the queen and her hatred, but rather to consider the kinds of behaviors and situations that invite evil, and where true innocence or goodness might lie. Following the first-person account of the queen, this picture book for older readers illuminates her blinding obsession and insatiable jealousy, right up to the point of her violent undoing.
This large format picture book is made up of a repeating pattern of text and image: each double spread of text is followed by four striking full-spread paintings, which are as riveting as they are unsettling. A bold adaptation of the Grimm's original text, this version of Snow White brilliantly puts us all in touch with the messy, shadowed, fraught, and fragile inwardness we each possess.
This is the second book to appear under Unruly, an imprint of picture books for older readers, and will include an author's note and a short note to readers about how it continues to build this experimental framework of visually complex, sophisticated picture books for teens and adults.