by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
I spend a significant part of each day trying to think up ways to help teachers get kids excited about reading.
And clearly, so does Sarah Mlynowski, the author of this week’s Dollar Deal—Whatever After: Fairest of All. It’s the first installment in the New York Times–bestselling fractured fairy-tale chapter-book series. It gives the classic Snow White story a modern (and funny!) twist.
I, for one, was always terrified of the villains in fairy tales. They were almost always so bad for the sake of being bad, which is pretty scary. There were wicked witches…
And, of course, sinister stepmothers. They, in particular, gave me nightmares. (Even though, in retrospect, I can see that stepmothers get an unfairly bad rap.)
I wish I’d had the Whatever After series on my bookshelf to take the edge off that fear and get me thinking about fairy tales in another way. Broadway and Hollywood love to look at traditionally “bad” characters and explain what made them so bad in the first place.
Like in the musical Wicked, we learn how the Wicked Witch of the West became the villain she was in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz….
And in Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, we learn more about Sleeping Beauty’s terrifying nemesis….
It’s always interesting when creators take relatively flat antagonists and fill out their three-dimensional worlds. I’m not sure if it makes the villains less scary in the end, but it definitely makes them less of an enigma—and regardless, it’s really interesting to think about classic fairy tales in a fresh way.
“A magic mirror, a slightly bossy sister and her inquisitive 7-year-old brother captivate in this rollicking remake of a classic fairy tale.” —Kirkus Reviews
After reading Whatever After: Fairest of All, my collaborator, the never-villainous David Vozar, mused—and drew—what it would be like if fairy tales were real:
The Scholastic Book Clubs team was excited to get in on the magic. The Book Boys put on a skit; three Book Friends Forever discuss why they relate to the protagonist in Book Talks; Sarah Mlynowski herself joins us for a game to come up with the title of a new fractured fairy tale in Behind the Scenes; and we show teachers how to create fun shoebox dioramas in the classroom in Cooked Up from a Book.
I hope you’ll enjoy the posts we put together to help readers get into this fun, engaging, and relatable series.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs