Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors by Donald B. Lemke


Five of the world's greatest fairy tales are retold in the popular and attractive graphic novel format. Beautiful, bold illustrations give these timeless tales a modern edge. The stories include Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Princess and the Pea, Snow White, and Thumbelina.

Pages: 176 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Capstone
Released: August 1, 2011

Because this is a collection of stories, I'll be providing a brief review for each story.

I've heard of this version of Rapunzel before, so this wasn't something new to me. I thought the artwork was fitting for this story. When we see the witch and her scenes, the art is very gray and dark. When we see Rapunzel and her prince, there is a lot more life and colour on the pages. Even when the witch and Rapunzel were together, the witch was gray and Rapunzel was full of life.

Even though this story is quite famous, I've never read it before. So this was my first time seeing Thumbelina. The art in this story is very colourful, which again fits the story. I quite enjoyed watching Thumbelina go from her home, to the frogs, to the mouse, and everywhere in between.

Snow White
In terms of artwork, I would say that Snow White has a very mature style. Once again, it works for the story, but it doesn't match the theme of this collection. All the other stories have some sort of cuteness to them. Snow White doesn't. It kind of reminded me of the Anita Blake graphic novel. The evil stepmother looked evil, but also slightly manish. I did like how the seven dwarfs looked though, they were very cute.

Beauty and the Beast
In terms of artwork, this was my second favourite story out of the 5. It reminded me of felt artwork and the backgrounds were beautifully done. Everything was simple, but the little details made it really stand out. The story was good too!

Princess and the Pea
This was my favourite story in the collection. The art was colourful and vibrant and the story was incredibly cute. I've read a Princess and the Pea many times as a kid, but it was never a story that I actively sought out. The idea of someone being so fragile that a pea would bother then didn't make sense to me. I wondered why she didn't just get off the bed and sleep on the floor? So I wasn't expecting much in terms of story from this, but I loved watching the prince search for a princess to wed. The characters he meets on his travels were unique, funny, and very weird.



I quite liked this collection. I love fairy tales, so I knew that I would be a fan of this right from the get go. One of the things I liked, other than the artwork, was how each story came with a brief history about it. Where the stories came from, how the stories changed throughout the years, when did the Brothers Grimm find it. Reading this was one of my favourite parts in this collection. Also, before each story would start, we'd be told the cast of characters.

The artwork was beautifully done as well, each had its own unique style but still shared some similarities to the other stories. For the most part, it's very kid friendly.

If you are looking for something original or a retelling of these classics, then this might not be the book that you're looking for. But if you're a fan of fairy tales, or want to introduce fairy tales to your kids, and want to see those stories told in graphic novel format, then this might be just for you.

3.5 stars

This book was provided by net galley.


Libby said...

I have to be honest, I expected a little something different when I read the book title. I don't know if I'd want the book but I could see buying it for a child absolutely!

Popin said...

I agree with you, if you look at the cover and title you're not sure what to expect. It's a good book for kids though, a little on the darker side, but still good.

~ Popin