‘The Poisoned Apple: A Fractured Fairy Tale’ by Anne Lambelet is a superb retelling in which the star is the poisoned apple

Anne Lambelet cleverly reimagines the tale of Snow White in “The Poisoned Apple: A Fractured Fairy Tale.” In this sometimes-dark fairy tale, the princess isn’t named, but we know that a wicked witch detests her for her sweetness and is determined to do away with her.

The illustrations add much to the story, and clever youngsters will enjoy looking at them to figure out just what the text alludes to. When we read, “The witch had worked tirelessly to collect countless rare ingredients,” the illustrations show the witch gathering those (disgusting) items from many, sometimes dangerous, sources. My grandson loves exclaiming at the fact that she had to get a toenail clipping from a giant!

Lambelet also manages to do something we don’t usually see in a picture book – she creates cliffhangers on several pages. We see someone starting to take a bite of the delicious-looking but deadly poisoned apple, and then we turn the page to see what happens.

No spoilers, but justice is served at the end and the results are a bit grizzly. That didn’t seem to bother my four-year-old grandson, who insisted on hearing the book over and over and over and then threw a tantrum because he would have to wait a day to bring it home! He loved “reading” the repeated phrase, “the poisoned apple,” which is in a fabulous, creepy font, on the many pages that have it always at the bottom, below the illustration and other text.

This is just a wonderful fractured fairy tale that will join other fractured fairy tales by authors such as Corey Rosen Schwartz, Susan Middleton, Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, and other creative retellings of classic fairy tales. Use it to entertain, or read several versions of the same fairy tale and have students compare and contrast them. It’s a great primary activity! There;s also a great activity guide for parents at this link.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Page Street Kids, the publisher, for review purposes.