open the pages, read the words, savor the magic
By Brothers Grimm | Illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia | HarperCollins 2012 | ISBN: 0062064460
There are two fun ways to revisit an old classic that’s been told since it was first published in a fairy tale collection by the Brothers Grimm in 1812: either you pick up a DVD and watch a film adaptation or you simply pick up the book and re-read the tale. A film may offer the more attractive package of beautiful and colorful visuals for maximum enjoyment, but now, thanks to artists like Camille Rose Garcia, classic
fairy tales can be just as enticingly gorgeous as their cinematic counterparts.
It is no secret that Snow White is fairy tale’s It Girl this year. There are two screen adaptations of the story released this year and both merit a theatrical viewing at the cinema. But as far as we’re concerned there’s only one Snow White book worth reading (this year, at least). Not just because it has the unabridged Brothers Grimm text but also because of its distinct, unique and edgy illustration. With vivid colors and bold strikes, Garcia does in HarperCollins’ illustrated Snow White what she once did in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland in 2010: to breathe new life into an oft-repeated tale that might have gone a little frayed around the edges.
The Evil Queen is properly evil and Snow White is decidedly snowy. The seven dwarfs may look the similar but they are not the same. And Garcia renders those adorable animals around Snow looking cute any sense of that toothache-inducing sweetness. Sure, Prince Charming could stand to borrow more of Armie Hammer or Sam Claflin’s good looks but these beloved characters – who are quite removed from the beloved Disney ‘toon of 1937 – take on new but recognizable shapes under Garcia’s skilled handling.
The font is another triumph of the book. Alternating between enormous and tiny, it is arranged in a way that evokes the feeling of “old tales for the modern audience.” Bearing in mind all the design elements, it is clearly not a challenge for us to delve into the bittersweet tension of the book and savor its happy ever after ending.
* Originally posted on Goodreads, 24 May 2012.
* This review is published in Total Film Indonesia magazine, issue 31, along with an exclusive interview with the book’s illustrator, Camille Rose Garcia.