“An apple for a pretty thing?”
Most readers are familiar with the story of Snow White, so there will be no real surprises in plot here. However, knowing what is coming just adds to the artful suspense in this graphic novel. Phelan frames his retelling of Snow White in New York City during the late 1920s/early 1930s. Here, Snow White is the daughter of the “King of Wall Street,” and the evil stepmother a “Broadway Queen.”
Fans of Phelan’s Storm in the Barn will find this a tad more sinister in tone. Deliciously dark, the art leaves much of the acts of violence to the imagination, depicting the ominous results, and is all the more powerful for it. The fantastical fairy tale is enriched by its historical dressings. The magic mirror has become a stock printer, which is not only a great introduction with the technology of the time, but an ingenious metaphor. Tuberculosis, the stock market crash, the display windows all feature prominently in the plot line. The art stays true to the time period as well, depicting appropriate room furnishings and clothing.
True to Phelan’s style, there is not a lot of text bogging up the pages of this graphic novel, and many panels rely solely on the art to move the story along. A sly “quick” read that invites multiple re-readings to pore over subtleties in the evocative art. This graphic novel is recommended for grades four and up.