Friday, October 27, 2017

Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin - Review

Author: Emily Winfield Martin
Publication Date:  10 October 2017
Publisher: Random House
Series:  Standalone, possibly a series
Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 8 and Up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

A New York Times bestselling author-illustrator brings readers into the woods to meet two young sisters and a strange bit of magic in this reimagining of the classic but little-known fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red." 

Snow and Rose didn't know they were in a fairy tale. People never do....

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves.

(Art inside the book)

My Review:

What a sweet read this was. I loved just about everything about it.  It has the feel of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale but with new twists and new details into the girls lives and personalities.  Snow and Rose is a beautiful book inside and out.  Just look at that cover and tell me that you don't want to fall into this world, know that as stunning as the art work is the story is just as wonderfully and beautifully told. This is a book you pick up because it is gorgeous, beautifully illustrated, exquisitely bound, it is a book you just want to touch and stare at.  It is also a story to easily lose yourself in, the way that Emily writes is as beautiful as the way she draws.  

"The forest where things live that are as old as the world - the spirits within the trees, hidden from view.  They see all that happens: the little and the big, the lives and the deaths, the comings and goings.  The trees watched them, now, the two girls had come."

I think that my favorite thing may have been the way the forest spoke in this book.  I am a bit of a nature geek, (I wanted to use the word naturist but then worried you'd all think I was running around the forest nude, haha) so this book where the forest itself is a major player in the story line is something that truly connected with my heart.  Snow and Rose among other things reminds me of how much humanity is missing as we take ourselves farther and farther away from nature.  There are lessons to be learned within the forest that one can not learn anywhere else, there is a freedom that we lost, there are adventures that we will never have.  I realize that this isn't the lesson that Emily was likely trying to tell but I love being able to share this book with my girls and remind them of the mystery that nature holds, the adventures to be had, (though if they bring a bear home we may have to have a talk, haha) and the voices that they are failing to hear when we lose sight of the knowledge that trees do talk.  

The story of Snow and Rose is one of sadness, adventure, hope, despair, friendship, family, and growth.  Snow, a rather self-centered and bratty child in the beginning of the story (though one must remember that she is just nine/ten years old) struggles to come to terms with her current life situation.  Her anger, though understandable keeps her from being able to accept that she can not continue on in the life she had become accustomed to.  Her faith in her father, her belief that he will come back is both heart breaking and heart warming.  You want to believe as she does, that the signs all point to him not having been killed in the forest.  Rose, is the opposite of her sister, she doesn't shine quiet so brightly, her emotions more subdued, he understanding of her family's situation heartbreaking but admirable.  She is what we would consider an 'old-soul'.  Through out their adventures in the forest it is lovely to see how Snow is finally able to see that though she doesn't have to give up hope, she does have to accept the life she now lives.  She learns that things, parties, pretty dresses, these are not what truly bring joy but that friends and family do.  Rose on the other hand learns that she has to allow herself to trust others, that she doesn't have to be the 'old-soul' all the time that there can be joy found even in sadness and struggle.  

I loved all the elements and how Emily weaves them all together to make a beautiful tale.  Just when you think something won't make sense, won't fit, that it feels as though it is some side plot you discover that it is a key to the entire story.  So don't get bogged down by all the little pieces, especially in the beginning where it feels as though each chapter is dedicated to something new, know that these pieces are all a part of the puzzle that when put together correctly (as Emily does) you will have a beautiful picture by the time you reach the end.  

The beginning of Snow and Rose can feel a bit slow, but again this is just what Snow and Rose need.  They need these little moments to complete the story, think of each chapter as it's own mini adventure on a great big adventure to discovery.  The end felt a little rushed, but it is still completely enjoyable and fulfilling, and it does leave the possibility open for more in the future and I truly hope that Emily Winfield Martin will be bringing us more adventures from Snow and Rose!  This is a great book to use as an introduction to classic fairy tales.  Grimm Brother's fairy tales can actually be quiet scary and your younger readers may not be ready for them yet so Snow and Rose is a wonderful way to give them the world of fantasy without giving them nightmares!  I loved reading this and can't wait to share it with my girls, plus it is just plain and simple a gorgeous book that I am going to display proudly on my shelves!  


Emily Winfield Martin makes paintings, books, and other things. She is the author and illustrator of Day Dreamers (forthcoming, 2014), Dream Animals (2013), Oddfellow's Orphanage (2012) and The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer (2010). When she was small, she spent every moment drawing, reading, dressing rabbits in fancy clothes, and having many peculiar daydreams. When she grew up, she began to illustrate those peculiar daydreams, and after college, she created a cottage industry called The Black Apple, which sells all manner of art and etceteras.

She works in a tiny nook of a studio filled with old children's books, wind-up toys, and stacks of fabric. Her work is inspired by fairy tales, music, myths, carnivals, children's books from the late 19th through mid 20th century, her favorite films, and autobiography.

She likes bears and sea monsters and seashell pink poppies. She lives and works among the giant fir trees of Portland, OR.

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