|Overall: 4.5 || |
8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin, illustrated by John Skewes
This is the previously untold story of the previously unknown 8th dwarf, named Creepy. He was banished to the basement for being different and , well, weird. Yet he played a vital - and of course previously unknown - role in the popular tale of Snow White (whose title character is an intruder Creepy refers to as "the Maid").
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In a tongue-in-cheek approach reminiscent of James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times, this satirical rendition of Snow White is a new kind of bedtime story—one intended for grown-ups (or young adults, as it were).
Most adults have heard of Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, and Grumpy. Mullin introduces us to Creepy, a misunderstood character who was banished by his brothers to a sort of netherworld: the basement. Instead of lovable, jewel-mining, song-whistling, morally upstanding men, Snow White's famous companions are shown in a new light, one in which intolerance and conformity are the order of the day. Not quit the stuff of fairy stories.
The author delivers his story in rhythmic, rhyming verse, which initially led me to believe that this was a children's story. The sardonic tone of voice, one instance of sexual innuendo, and a vocabulary surely intended for older readers quickly had me changing my tune. The sarcasm is strangely charming, much like Creepy himself, and this slightly darker story fits in quite nicely with the original.
Having seen some of the illustrator's previous work, I was admittedly disappointed by the ones in this book, which seemed like first drafts of the kinds of pictures he's drawn for theLarry Gets Lost™ children's series. While the images show up nicely on an e-reader, I feel like they do not take full advantage of the screen's display capabilities, grayscale or otherwise.
On the whole, I found this story to be satisfying. 8 is a quick, quirky narrative poem that proves that picture books are not only for children.
(Review copy provided by the author)