Fairest of All

Book Reviews

Whatever After: Fairest of All.
Mlynowski, Sarah (author).
May 2012. 192p. Scholastic, hardcover, $14.99 (9780545403306). Grades 4-6. REVIEW.  First published April 1, 2012 (Booklist).

There’s “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” but what happens when the story “gets all tangled up” in the middle? That question is at the heart of this debut title in a new fairy-tale-themed series. Ten-year-old Abby and her seven-year-old brother, Jonah, are living a normal life in a new town until they discover the mirror in the basement. When they knock on its surface three times, they’re whizzed away to fairy-tale land and find themselves at the home of Snow (yes, White). Just as Evil Evelyn, her wicked stepmother, is about to hand over the infamous poison apple, Jonah intervenes. But if Snow doesn’t eat the poison apple, then the prince can’t save her, and that means Snow’s love life is ruined, not to mention Disney’s whole movie. There’s lots of hilarious artistic license here (three of the seven dwarfs are women; one has pink hair), along with unexpected plot twists and plenty of girl power. Tween girls who may not be quite ready for Donna Jo Napoli and Gail Carson Levine’s fractured-fairy-tale novels will find this title is just right. — Ann Kelley

Horn Book Guide:
Mlynowski, Sarah Fairest of All
   170 pp. Scholastic 2012. ISBN 978-0-545-40330-6
(3) 4-6 Whatever After series. Ten-year-old Abby and seven-year-old Jonah discover a mirror that transports them into Snow White’s fairy tale. They save Snow from the queen but realize the events change the happy ending everyone expects; the siblings race to resolve everything before their parents discover them missing. This entertaining, breezy modern take on a classic fairy tale will leave readers clamoring for another installment.

Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine [or Guide, as applicable] by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
MLYNOWSKI, Sarah. Fairest of All. 174p. Scholastic. May 2012. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-0-545-40330-6.

Gr 3-5–When fifth-grader Abby and her younger brother, Jonah, move from Chicago to boring small-town Smithville, they think the exciting part of their lives might be over. Then Jonah discovers a hissing mirror in the basement. After he knocks on it three times, it swallows them both up and spits them out in a fairy-tale land called Zamel. They arrive as Snow White’s evil stepmother is attempting to poison Snow with an apple, just like in the story. They save her from that fate, but soon realize their huge mistake. If Snow doesn’t eat the apple, the prince never gets to rescue her, and she never falls in love with him. They have actually ruined her happily-ever-after. Somehow they have to get his attention, but it won’t be easy. This is essentially “Snow White” retold, with enough amusing changes thrown in to keep readers giggling. Some of the dwarfs are girls, one of them is ridiculously handsome, and the mirror’s name is Gabrielle. While Snow White is annoyingly vapid, Abby’s conversational narration is witty and charming, and Jonah’s one-liners are snappy and clever. A light, fun adventure.-–Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX


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