"All the papers said that Snow White's stepmother was the classiest dame in New York.
But no one knew that she was the Queen of the Underworld.
She liked to see herself in the New York Mirror."
The setting for this version of Snow White is 1930's New York. The architecture is art deco and you can see this in the geometric lines and bold colours.
Mirror mirror on the wall - how inventive to change this to the newspaper. The step mother wants to be the celebrity. When Snow White is called the Belle of New York City her step mother orders her bodyguard to take her downtown and shoot her. He cannot do this and so he leaves her to wander the streets alone. She stumbles on a jazz club and hears music played by seven jazz musicians. They invite Snow White up on stage and a star is born. Once again Snow White appears on the front page of the newspaper. Her step mother plots her revenge. She hosts a grand party for Snow White and then slips a poisoned cherry into her drink.
"All of New York was shocked by the death of the beautiful Snow White."
The jazz men carry her coffin up to the church but one of them stumbles and the cherry is dislodged. Snow White and the news reporter lived happily ever after. The illustration shows the wicked step mother under police arrest.
Snow White in New York won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 1986. Take a look at the award criteria:
"The whole work should provide pleasure from a stimulating and satisfying visual experience which leaves a lasting impression. Illustrated work needs to be considered primarily in terms of its graphic elements, and where text exists particular attention should be paid to the synergy between the two."
This is the perfect book to share with a senior primary class or an art or English class in High School. Of course you could begin with a close look at some other editions of Snow White - traditional and other retellings such as fractured fairy tales. Many of the traditional versions I have shown here have exquisite illustrations which would be excellent to compare with Snow White in New York.
This video reading of Snow White in New York is a little too fast for use with a class but it allows you to see all the beautiful illustrations.
Here is another retelling of the Snow White story in the form of a graphic novel. Elizabeth Bird at School Library Journal loved it: