NONFICTION

The White Snake: A TOON Graphic

TOON Graphics. May 2019. 64p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781943145379; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781943145386.
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Gr 3-5–A lesser-known Grimm fairy tale receives a feminist update in this colorful graphic novel retelling. Underdog servant Randall dutifully attempts to accomplish the tasks given to him by King Arnold, a controlling monarch with regressive (nay, misogynistic) views on gender and class. When King Arnold’s capable, levelheaded daughter Tilda (a much more shallow character in the original tale) offers to attend to the kingdom’s guests, he indignantly retorts, “That’s no job for a young woman. You will marry a worthy suitor and be his faithful wife as he rules.” When Tilda threatens to run away to the next kingdom over, King Arnold sends Randall to spy on Borisylvania to learn why King Boris is so beloved. Randall unwittingly gains the ability to speak with animals when he covertly eats a piece of a mysterious white snake. His kindness toward animals pays off when the creatures come to his aid in his times of need. Bright colors and silly creatures hiding in the background will encourage repeated readings.
VERDICT Readers who delight in fairy tales, hero stories, quests, and fantastic magic will find Randall’s story fascinating. A unique and contemporary reimagining of a Grimm tale.

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