June 15, 2011

Book Review: Secrets, Monsters and Magic Mirrors by Donald Lemke (editor)

Cover is from Rapunzel
The Deal: Okay, first let me explain how the book works: it's a graphic novel with re-tellings of five classic fairy tales in the form of a comic/graphic novel, each one has a different author in charge of the text and a different artist in charge of the artwork  - as a result, you get five very different styles.
The tales in question are Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and The Pea. The tales are very different esthetically and narrative more close to the original 'uncut' versions than to Disney or more kid-friendly versions.

My Thoughts: As I said, Secrets, Monsters and Magic Mirrors is a compilation and it sort of gets into a lot of trouble because of it. The stylistically, each story is very different from the previous one. The artwork for Rapunzel is dark but kind of awesome, Thumbellina's is a bit on the childish side; Snow White is more of classic comic approach (I found this one the creepiest of them all); Beauty and The Beast was a bit cutesy but basic, and Princess and the Pea a bit more square, but also cute. 

(I hope I'm making sense with the descriptions)

Now, here is where the trouble starts, the styles are so different and it's kind of jarring to jump from one to the next, and I think the book has a bit of a personality crisis. Some of the drawings are so elemental and cute, like they are aimed for kids, but I wouldn't feel comfortable giving this book to a young child because it can get kind of dark. And at the same time I don't think it's sophisticated enough for an older crowd - the retellings are very short, and the characterization remains a little cartoonish. 

One thing I did like about it, was that, at the end of each story, there was a little background about the particularly story.

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