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BOOK REVIEW: Snow White Stories Around the World by Jessica Gunderson

| 9 February 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Snow White Stories Around the World by Jessica Gunderson  

Picture Window Books
February 2015
Hardcover, $16.95
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell




What is a Fairy Tale?

Once upon a time, before the age of books, people gathered to tell stories. They told tales of fairies and magic, princes and witches. Ideas of love, jealousy, kindness, and luck filled the stories. Some provided lessons. Others just entertained. Most did both! These fairy tales passed from neighbor to neighbor, village to village, land to land. As the stories spun across the seas and over mountains, details changed to fit each culture. A poisoned slipper became a poisoned ring. A king became a sultan. A wolf became a tiger.
Over time, fairy tales were collected and written down. Around the world today, people of all ages love to read or hear these timeless stories. For many years to come, fair tales will continue to live happily ever after in our imaginations. 


These books are a great addition to the library of any collector of fairy tales, anyone who has ever enjoyed remakes of the old classic, and are a fantastic introduction for anyone who doesn’t know the stories already.


In this collection of Snow White tales from around the world, we are offered the classic German version of the tale we all know and love, the Albanian, Mozambican, and Turkish versions.

It’s interesting to see what changes happen from story to story:

– There’s the one in which Snow White’s stepmother has a magic mirror which tells her she’s the most beautiful in the land, until Snow White reaches an age at which her beauty surpasses that of her stepmother’s.

– The one in which Marigo’s teacher tricks her into killing her mother, and then the teacher marries Marigo’s father, the King. In this version, Marigo goes to live in a castle of 40 dragons, and the stepmother sends Marigo’s own father to kill her.

– The one in which a mother grows gradually more and more jealous of her young daughter’s beauty, and asks her servants to kill the child. In this version of the tale, she asks for a heart, liver, and little finger to prove the girl dead.

– And the one in which the padishah(king)’s wife takes the daughter out into the wilderness and leaves her, in the hope that she will be eaten by wild animals, and when she finds out the girl isn’t dead, sticks her with magic needles that make her fall down dead, until one of the needles is removed…


The different styles of illustration from story to story are just as interesting as the differences in the stories themselves. While there is a glossary at the back of each collection, this does mean this collection will likely have to be read to the younger readers, but could also help with increasing their vocabulary. There are also questions at the end, to encourage readers to really think about the tale, and information on some other Snow White stories for further reading.

Next time you’re after a book about Snow White for book week, as a gift, or just wanting to brush up on your fairy tales, definitely give this one a go. These are a great collection, and I rushed out to get myself the whole set. 

Though, with four stories crammed into 32 pages, it would have been nice to stay a little longer within these tales. 


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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