cover image Snow White: A Graphic Novel

Snow White: A Graphic Novel

Matt Phelan. Candlewick, $19.99 (216p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7233-1

Phelan (Bluffton) delivers a spectacular 20th-century update of “Snow White,” transplanting the story to Jazz Age and Depression-era New York City, where themes of jealousy, beauty, and power find a comfortable home. Years after tuberculosis has claimed the life of Samantha “Snow” White’s mother, her father, “the King of Wall Street,” finds a regal match in the “Queen of the Follies,” whose Louise Brooks bob is as sharp as her glare. She soon dispatches her husband, only to learn that Snow stands to inherit his wealth; one of many exquisite touches is Phelan’s use of a stock ticker as the magic mirror, rattling away like Poe’s tell-tale heart as Snow’s stepmother’s ambitions shift into madness. Moody gray and sepia panels carry the story forward, punctuated by splashes of lurid red—for an animal heart, procured at a butcher’s shop, or an apple tainted with a syringe. Snow’s affectionate relationship with “the Seven,” a group of street children, is among this adaptation’s most potent elements. The boys are hesitant to tell Snow their names, but readers will want tissues on hand when they finally do. Ages 10–up. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)