Saturday, July 23, 2011

Early Graphic Novel Review - Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors by Stephanie True Peters (3/5 stars)

Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors; Stone Arch Fairy Tales Volume TwoReading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fairy Tales/Graphic Novel
Size: 176 pages
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Release Date: August 1, 2011
ISBN: 978-1434234568
Stand Alone or Series: Stone Arch Fairy Tales Book 2
Source: ARC through
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through  I love graphic novels and fairy tale retellings, so I was excited to give this book a read.  It ended up being okay, but didn't add anything special to fairy tales I know and love.

Five fairy tales are retold in graphic novel form: Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and The Princess and the Pea.  Each story is retold by different authors and illustrated by different artists.

I really enjoyed how each story in the book starts with a cast of characters and ends with a brief history of the fairy tale.  The history of each fairy tale was, in most cases, more interesting than the retelling of the fairy tale itself.

In general these retellings were pretty boring and bland.  The only one that was really exceptional was the Princess and the Pea; this was retold in a humorous way that totally matched the beautiful anime-like artwork; I really enjoyed this one.

It seems like the writers were trying to retell the most general version of each fairy tale and that left the retellings sounding stale and stiff.  Some of the artwork is very beautiful; the art in Snow White is beautiful digital work, while the Thumbelina the artwork is cartoony, modern, and fun; The Princess and the Pea is done in soft colors with an anime-flare.  All of the stories have very different artwork from each other.

I have summarized each story below.  Overall this is an okay collection of fairy tales retold with beautiful art; the stories themselves are pretty bland (excepting the Princess and the Pea which was fantastic) but the artwork is nice to look at.  Definitely aimed at a middle grade or younger age group; older readers will be bored.  While I applaud the idea of retelling fairy tales in graphic novel form I would recommend middle grade readers really interested in retold fairy tales check out books by Jessica Day George, Robin McKinley, Cameron Dokey, or Alex Flinn.  These books have fun and thoughtful fairy tale retellings.  Adults should definitely check out the Fables series of graphic novels; these have been wonderful, are well drawn, and creative.

Rapunzel - Very dry and simple rendition of this story, the artwork was cartoony and artsy.  Very pretty and folk-art-like if a bit stiff. (3/5)

Thumbelina - The illustration is fun, bright, and cartoony with a modern flare.  The dialogue was a bit simple and awkward.  Not my favorite rendition of the story of thumbelina.  (3/5)

Snow White - Beautiful digital full color illustrations.  The retelling of snow white is pretty well done, a little dry but better than the first two stories.  (4/5)

Beauty and the Beast- The art is cartoony, blocky, and bright...very stylized.  The rendition of the tale is again very simple and dry.  (3/5)

The Princess and the Pea - My favorite story of the bunch.  The artwork is done in a anime sort of style with beautiful soft colors.  The tale of the prince and his search for the perfect princes is told with the perfect amount of humor, I really enjoyed it.  (5/5)

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors; Stone Arch Fairy Tales Volume Two 

No comments:

Post a Comment