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“We’ve somehow been transported from our basement to a forest in the middle of the night, and you’re thinking of Cheetos?” Abby. –Fairest of All
Fairest of All
Whatever After #1
by Sarah Mylnowski
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers
Once upon a time, a mirror slurped up Abby and her brother Johan. When Abby and Johan are magically transported into the fairy tale world, they don’t mean to change Snow White’s happily-ever-after. Because of them, Snow doesn’t eat the poisonous apple. Snow doesn’t meet the prince. Abby is determined to fix Snow’s story; she’s just not sure how to make the prince meet and fall in love with Snow.
Abby and Johan are complete opposites, which adds humor to the story. Abby needs a plan for everything and constantly tries to curb Johan’s adventurous spirit. The one thing that remains constant is their desire to help Snow. Unlike the original fairy tale, in this story Snow White’s personality is multifaceted. She proves that a girl doesn’t need a prince in order to live happily ever after. Instead of following the traditional plot, Fairest of All takes the reader down a winding path where danger is behind every corner.
Fairest of All is an imaginative retelling of Snow White’s fairy tale. Told from Abby’s point of view, the story’s start is slow, but once the siblings show up at the dwarves’ cottage, the action picks up. With short chapters, easy vocabulary, and an interesting narrator, Fairest of All will appeal to a wide range of readers. The story leaves several questions unanswered, which will have readers reaching for the next book in the series, If the Shoe Fits. More advanced readers should add The Secret Rescuers series by Paula Harrison to their reading list.
- Evil Evelyn tries to give Snow a poisoned apple. While arguing with Snow, Evelyn begins to sweat, and “makeup starts to smear down her face,” which allows Snow to recognize her stepmother. Johan retells the story, “Snow’s stepmom was trying to kill her with a poisoned apple, and that’s why she was wearing a disguise.”
- Snow explains how she came to live with the dwarves. Snow’s stepmom “sends Xavier, her huntsmen, to kill me. He let me get away, but then I got lost in the forest… I came across the cottage… So I fell asleep on an empty bed, and the next thing I knew, there were seven little people staring at me.”
- Johan tells Snow that the huntsman “told the queen that he had done it. And I think he gave her the lungs and liver of some animal, pretending it was you.” This comes up several times throughout the book.
- Evil Evelyn tried to kill Snow using laces. The stepmother “tied them so tight Snow couldn’t breathe. We [the dwarves] came home and found Snow lying on the floor. We untied them just in time.”
- When Prince Trevor was two, he threw a rock at a stranger.
- Disguised as a child, Evil Evelyn offers to give Snow a cookie. Snow takes the cookie and her stepmother was “lifting the hammer and swinging it toward Snow’s head.” Abby sees the hammer and she “jumps towards Snow and push her out of the way… At the same time, the young girl’s hammer swings through the air and misses its target.” Evil Evelyn flees.
- Snow, Johan, and Abby sneak into the castle. If they are caught, Snow says Evil Evelyn will kill them. Then Johan askes, “Do you think she’d eat our lungs and livers too?”
- In order to try to “fix” Snow’s story, Snow pretends to be dead. As she lays in the coffin, she puts her head on a poisoned pillow. Snow screams. “Snow pops up, the tips of her hair burnt off like she stood too close to a fire.” To get the poison out of Snow’s hair, Abby dumps water on her head.
- In order to get into the castle, Snow, Abby, and Johan swim the moat. Two crocodiles snap at the three friends. “Baby Crocodile blocks our path from behind and snaps her baby teeth… Mama Crocodile lunges again.” Johan throws stew sandwiches at the crocodile, who gobble them up. The three are able to escape.
- Snow, Johan, and Abby try to leave the castle. They are on the drawbridge when soldiers appear. Evil Evelyn “aims a bowstring at Snow and pulls the trigger… In what seems like slow motion, he [Prince Trevor] jumps in front of Snow.” Trevor is injured, but Snow is saved.
- The arrow hit Prince Trevor “square in the chest… Prince Trevor is still standing, but he’s shaking. After a few dramatic moments, his knees buckle, and he falls right over the bridge and into the water. Splash!”
- Snow is able to drag Prince Trevor to shore. Trevor wakes up and says, “You kissed me. I was dead, and your kiss woke me up.” Snow explains that she didn’t kiss Trevor, but that “it was mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” The escape scene is described over 10 pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Jonah and Abby travel through a mirror and end up in Snow White’s fairy tale. When Jonah knocks on the mirror three times, the mirror sucks Jonah and Abby into it.
- Time in the real world travels slower than in Snow White’s world. Every hour in the real world equals one day in Snow’s world.