annalovesbooks (USA: IL) (2008/09/16):
In an effort to make comparisons easier, I'm consolidating three reviews for three different editions of Snow White. First, the recap: The Queen is a very vain woman, not happy to see her step-daughter's beauty eclipse her own, so when her mirror finally confirms the dreaded reality, she sends the huntsman into the woods with Snow White with orders to kill her. The huntsman can't bring himself to do it, so he warns her and tells her to run, which she does. Finding a small house, with the help of forest animals who have befriended her, Snow White cleans it up in hopes of being invited to stay. The owners of the house, seven dwarfs, find her there when they return from work and decide that she should stay - and that she should be very careful from now on. When an old woman comes to the cottage, offering Snow White an apple, she fails to see the harm until it's too late. Certain that she's dead, the dwarfs give her a coffin of glass and gold and she lies there until her prince comes and wakes her with a kiss.
ISBN 0307010368 - 5 stars - Having read a number of collaborations between Disney and Golden Books recently, I'm so happy to find them back on track with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The illustrations are standard Disney, the story is complete and well told. Unlike recent reads from Disney/Golden Books, Snow White hits every important note of the original without seeming hurried. For those parents who stress about these things, there's no violence and the single presumed death is vague, to say the least. Well worth picking up for your little reader.
ISBN 1845770773 - 4 stars - This edition, from the Early Readers Treasured Tales series would probably merit a 3 star review, if not for the "points to help you teach your child to read" in the front. It's such a nice addition to this average re-telling, edited by Claire Black, that it deserves a star all its own. This edition begins a little earlier than the Disney one, with Snow White's pregnant, happy mother and how she chooses Snow White's name. There are questions at the bottom of several pages ("Why was the princess called Snow White?" for example). They are unobtrusive, so they don't interfere if you just choose to read the book, but are useful for comprehension – one "point" to help a child learn to read. Some versions leave out the Queen's order to the huntsman that he must bring back Snow White’s heart in a box - this one does not omit that detail, but it does leave out the Queen's death. If the heart in a box thing is something you think your child will have issues with, this isn't your edition. The illustrations here, by Eric Kincaid, are very well done and more true to the Grimms Brothers version than the Disney one.
ISBN 0785310320 – 3 stars – This edition, A Little Rainbow Book, is all right but nothing special. The look of the book is clearly an attempt to look like the Little Golden Books. The cover illustration, by Kenny Yamada, is the best of the lot. The inside illustrations, by Gary Torrisi are just about average, lacking in detail and a bit boring. The adaptation by Dorothea Goldenberg is fair. The text flows well and the words are simple, a plus for young readers. Several small differences in the story made it boring for me but might appeal to others. Snow White is simply banished to the forest – there’s no huntsman and no threat of death at that point. Rather than jump straight to the poison apple, the Queen tries a poisoned comb first, which is a little closer to the original tale. However, it is very strange that, after that attempt, no special warnings to be careful follow. The gold and/or glass coffin is left out here, and the dwarfs place Snow White on a bed of rose petals and moss. The Queen is not killed. Those things add up to a far less violent/scary tale but, again, they make the story boring to me.