________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 41. . . .June 21, 2013


Fairest of All. (Whatever After #1).

Sarah Mlynowski.
New York, NY., Scholastic Press
(Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2012.
169 pp., pbk. & ebook, $6.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-0-545-48571-5 (pbk.),
978-0-545-49842-5 (ebook).

Subject Headings:
Fairy tales-Fiction.
Characters in literature-Fiction.

Brothers and sisters-Fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Deborah Mervold and Kira Gerein.

**** /4



I do not want to call pop soda.

I do not want to eat gloppy banana mush.

I do not want to be it.

"I'm pretty sure the way I play is the right way,"

I say, my throat tightening. I'm right. I am.


Abby is a practical, logical 10-year-old who moves with her parents and younger brother, Jonah, to Smithville. Everything is different from what items are called, to how food is made, to how the children play tag in Abby's new school. Abby is only happy when she is immersed in books.

     One night, Jonah wakes her up to show her this magic mirror in the basement, one, which when he knocks on it, pulls them inside to the story of Snow White. They like Snow and help her identify the old woman as her evil stepmother. However, in this action, they change the story because, without the apple and Snow White's "death", the prince can't come and rescue her, and so Snow White won't live happily ever after.

     Abby and Jonah realize that they must help Snow White to bring the story back to the way it was, but this proves very difficult. They also must do it before their time runs out and it is morning back home. The dwarfs and the prince are recognizable but bring something unique to this version of the tale. Snow White receives her "happy-ever-after" but not quite in the expected way. Abby and Jonah must bring the prince to Snow White and then find their way home.

     The book is divided into 23 chapters, each with a title that directs the plot. Some of the titles include "The Prologue", "Mirror, Mirror, Bolted on the Wall", "Snow's House" and "Maybe Stories Can Change." Each title has a drawing which adds interest and humour. Dialogue is realistic and humourous. Vocabulary is suitable for the intended audience, and the characters are believable with depth to their personalities. Even the fairy tale characters are believable. Abby learns a lesson in that change is inevitable and she will adapt.

     Fairest of All is the first book in a series of Abby and Jonah's adventures into fairy tales. This book would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of humour, twisted fantasy and realistic fiction. It would be an excellent class novel for individual reading or as a read-aloud choice. Fairest of All would be an excellent addition for personal, class, school and public libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold is an educator from Shellbrook, SK, now doing faculty training and program development at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. Kira Gerein is a Grade 5 student in Saskatoon, SK.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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