Book Review | Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali and Raphaelle Barbanègre

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs Davide Cali Raphaelle Barbanegre

Source: Raphaelle Barbanègre

[I received a digital copy of this book from its Canadian publisher Tundra Books via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book.]

I’m hoping to keep my review short and sweet, which is exactly what this book was. (I read it in under five minutes and then re-read it, so I could marvel in its humour and illustrations.) Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs asks readers: what would happen if Snow White didn’t meet 7 dwarfs in the forest but 77?

I’ll give you a hint: She has to do A LOT of work.

The downside to reading this book on my Kindle was that I couldn’t fully appreciate the vibrant illustrations by Montreal illustrator Raphaelle Barbanègre. There were so many little details that I would have loved to zoom in on. Here’s one of the illustrations, from Raphaelle Barbanègre’s website:

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs Page

(Snow White’s expressions throughout the book are golden.)

This is definitely a book that you will want to read a physical copy of. Plus, Davide Cali’s writing is fantastic. It’s so humorous, and written in a way that is perfect for reading out loud. If my mom still read to me, I could definitely see myself requesting this book over and over again.

Even though this book is targeted towards younger children, I think adults will enjoy it equally. As Snow White caters to the dwarfs needs, I couldn’t help but recall my babysitting days, and the likeness was so funny to me. The dwarfs are a handful, and for someone who couldn’t quite always relate to the original Snow White, I sure as heck related to this one.

Verdict: With a hilarious new twist on a classic tale, Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs is an entertaining and fun read for the whole family. I’d highly recommend checking it out!

Read if: You’re a fan of Snow White, enjoy reading re-imagined tales, want to tickle your funny bone.

Do you think you could handle 77 dwarfs?

Book Review | Boy, Snow, Bird

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of books that really engage me past the main story and encourage me to dig deeper and really think about what the author wants to tell her readers.  Well, I have come to say that Boy, Snow, Bird did not disappoint.

I won’t lie: I was a little nervous when I started reading. I had fallen in love with the book’s premise after reading its dust jacket blurb and even featured it on my blog before I had even bought it. Once I’d ordered it online I checked incessantly to see if it had arrived yet. After all that hype I was really, really worried that I would end up dissatisfied. Luckily, that was not the case.

The book begins in New York and we are immediately thrown into action as we watch Boy Novak run away from home. As this is happening, she (yes, she) begins to explain why she is running away and the stakes that are involved. Her father, a professional rat catcher, has been abusing her. She lives perpetually in fear; one wrong move could trigger her father to lay his hands on her. So, though she is terrified, she decides to escape and find a new life far away from the rat catcher. Even though I knew Boy was being set up as the “evil” stepmother in this story, I couldn’t help but feel empathetic towards her. I cheered her on as she fled. In Boy, Snow, Bird, the line between villain and hero is often blurred.

Boy winds up in Flax Hill, Massachusetts where she eventually meets and weds Arturo Whitman, who is a jeweler by trade. He has an “extraordinary-looking” daughter named Snow from a previous marriage and everyone in Flax Hill seems to be captivated by this pale-skinned, raven-haired beauty. It is not until Boy gives birth to golden-skinned Bird that she realizes Arturo and Snow have been passing. What follows is, on the surface, a loose retelling of the Snow White tale but deep down Boy, Snow, Bird is about the complexity of race, perception, and sense of self.

There were many aspects of this book that made it such a thrilling and enjoyable read for me. First, though it promises to be a retelling of the classic Snow White story, it doesn’t take it in a literal sense. I happen to dislike works that take things too literally because I find it lacks real imagination and is often just a lazy way to write. I had no issues with the lack of poisonous apples and obvious wicked witches here. Like I said before, the line between villain and hero is blurred, and masterfully so. In a book that’s all about perception and duplicity, I see this as a strength, not a weakness. We are constantly re-evaluating what is being presented to us: Boy is actually a girl; mirrors are not always truthful; “evil” stepmothers are not always as evil as they seem; those who think they are being “good” end up doing more harm than they understand. These re-evaluations urge us to question what we have already accepted as real and beg us to reconsider everything from a different perspective.

Overall, Boy, Snow, Bird was a very enchanting and entertaining read. It is intelligent and skillfully written. Though its main character seems vain at first there is no vanity or triteness here. This is a book that leaves readers more empathetic and more socially aware; for me, that is one of the most valuable qualities a book can have. I read another review that said that Boy, Snow, Bird is a book that you press into a friends hand and urge them to read it and I wholeheartedly agree. If you haven’t already read this book you must! When you’re done you can come back and discuss it with me 😉

Verdict: Another must read; 2014 is becoming an amazing year for good books.
Read if: You enjoy reading about race relations, passing, loose fairy tale retellings.

Have you read Boy, Snow, Bird? What did you think?

Wishlist Wednesday | March 12th

Source: Goodreads

[Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.]

My first blog hop! I have been meaning to write about my TBR pile so when I typed “Wishlist Wednesday” into Google I was so excited to find this come up! I really want to start blogging more regularly so having something like this will make the process much easier (and a lot more fun)!

For the past few weeks I have been dying to get my hands on Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird. When I read the blurb on the dust jacket I was immediately intrigued. Here’s what I could pull from Amazon: “From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.” 

First of all, anything about race relations will almost always interest me. I remember reading Nella Larsen’s Passing and finding it so wonderfully written. I have high hopes for Boy, Snow, Bird as it also deals with characters who are passing and are ultimately found out. The fact that it’s also a reworking of Snow White is almost too exciting for me to handle.

With that being said, I will soon be able to take this book off of my wishlist and onto my bookshelf! I finally took the plunge and bought it online. Now my wish is for it to come sooner!

What book are you currently coveting? Have you read Boy, Snow, Bird?