My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.
Snow White and Rose Red was originally published in 1978. It is based on a Brothers Grimm tale. There is no author listed for this adaptation, and Sheilah Beckett is listed as the illustrator.
This fairy tale is not affiliated with the more famous Snow White tale involving the dwarves and the wicked queen. In this story, Snow White and her sister Rose Red live in a cottage with their widowed mother. One winter night, a bear comes to the door seeking shelter, and his wish is granted. The bear comes to their house every day in the winter, but disappears in the spring. Snow White and Rose Red often see a gnome in the forest, and they help him out of several sticky situations. Could there be a connection between their friend the bear and the grumpy gnome?
The illustrations are gorgeous. Beckett uses a subdued palette against a white background, so the details in the pictures tend to stand out. There’s a Germanic theme that’s prevalent throughout the entire book, from the girls’ dirndl dresses to the furniture in their house. My girls especially enjoyed the funny illustrations of the gnome in his various predicaments.
This is a beautiful version of one of the lesser-known fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm. I don’t want to give away the ending, but this story has all the elements of a classic fairy tale: kindness is rewarded, wickedness is punished, and there’s even a little bit of magic. My girls enjoyed reading this story with me, and we are looking forward to more adaptations illustrated by Sheilah Beckett from our Best Book Club Ever collection.
I would recommend Snow White and Rose Red. This book has been out of print for years, but used copies are readily available on Amazon. This book will appeal to children who enjoy reading fairy tales, such as older preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school. There is some mild violence, but it’s not particularly graphic and may go over the heads of some children.