‘Whatever After: Fairest of All’ by Sarah Mlynowski: Fantasy fun for girls

Humorous fairytale for middle grade readers
Rating: 4 stars
“Whatever After: Fairest of All” is the first fairytale retelling in the “Whatever After” series by Sarah Mlynowski. And it’s not all “meet the prince and live happily after.” There is, however, a happily ever after — after all, it IS a fairytale.
But readers will find the fairytale protagonist, in this book Snow White, much more empowered than in the original Grimm. In fact, young readers should be encouraged to read the original (far more gruesome than Disney) Grimm story as it is referenced often in the book.

The first person narrator is a young girl whose brother finds a magic mirror in the basement of their new house. He shows her the mirror, and they get swooped into the story of Snow White.

Of course, they both know what is going to happen because their grandmother loved to read them fairytales. So Abby, the narrator, is able to save Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. But then she realizes that now Snow White won’t meet the prince.

The problem, then, becomes how to make the story’s original conclusion come true — how to avoid an ending that involves Snow White caring for the seven dwarfs for the rest of her life.

There’s humor aplenty and some nice action involving the strategy of book-study to solve problems instead of waiting for a prince to make it all work. Girls from the second through fifth grades should enjoy this book and the whole series.

For a different change of fairytale, they might want to also consider reading “A Tale Dark & Grimm” by Adam Gidwitz, a different, darker version of the Grimm tales.

Please note: This review is based on the final paperback book provided by the publisher, Scholastic, for review purposes.