The Picture Book Buzz

Not Quite Snow White - The Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

July 12, 2019

Has anyone noticed the uproar over having a diverse Ariel. I can't remember any such commotion for one of my favorite films - Cinderella. This amazing 1997 musical starred Brandy (Cinderella), Whitney Houston (Fairy Godmother), Whoopi Goldberg (Queen), & Paolo Montalbán (Prince). We didn't question the ethnicity, it just was. After all, shouldn't the quality of the acting and the voice be more important than the color of the actor's skin? Maybe instead we could harness this fervor for use toward meaningful societal issues.

 

Anyway, into the midst of all this hullabaloo, sashays a picture book that looks exactly at the issue of body typing (color, size, height) for roles and discrimination within society. I hope that this book resonates with many kids and helps raise a new generation that fights against the last gasps of an "old guard."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Quite Snow White

 

Author: Ashley Franklin

 

Illustrator: Ebony Glenn

 

Publisher: Harper Collins (2019)

 

Ages: 4-8

 

Fiction

 

Themes:

Confidence, self-love, acceptance, the power of imagination, and pursuing a goal.

 

Synopsis:

A picture book for magical yet imperfect girls everywhere, written by debut author Ashley Franklin and perfect for fans of such titles as Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer and the classic Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.

 

Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.

 

But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role.

They whisper, they snicker, and they glare.

Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call?

 

Not Quite Snow White is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost. Tameika encourages us all to let our magic shine.

 

Opening Lines:

For Tameika, it was always the right time and place to dance and sing.

Tameika had a hip-rolling happy dance.

A swayful sad dance.

A stomping mad dance.

And a hair-flicking just-because-she-felt-fabulous dance. 

 

What I Liked about this Book: (I apolgize to Ebony & Ashley for the darkness of my images.)

 

Tameika is delightful. I mean, just look at her. She's what is known in theater circles as the "triple threat." She can sing, dance, and act. She has quite a range, seeing that she's performed as a cucumber, a space cowgirl, a dinosaur, and a mermaid. Now she wants to be a princess - Snow White. 

Text © Ashley Franklin, 2019. Image © Ebony Glenn, 2019.

 

While her personality is dynamic, what most endeared me to her as a character, was her devotion to her friends. Even though she was preparing to audition, she helped her friends "with their lines, kept count for dancers, and shooed butterflies from tummies." Tameika wasn't a prima donna.

Text © Ashley Franklin, 2019. Image © Ebony Glenn, 2019.

 

When Tameika overhears kids whispering - "She's too tall." "She's much too chubby." "And She's too brown." - her confidence falters. Her transformation, as she absorbs these insults and her entire demeanor changes, is heart breaking. A masterful job of text and illustration inviting empathy from the readers. 

 

 

Text © Ashley Franklin, 2019. Image © Ebony Glenn, 2019.

 

Fortunately, Tameika's parents notice the change and after discovering the reason, tell her she's "just enough of all the right stuff."

Text © Ashley Franklin, 2019. Image © Ebony Glenn, 2019.

 

While this doesn't solve Tamika's nerves and doubts, when it's time for her to audition, her parent's acceptance and encouragement plants a seed that she can chose to nurture. Ebony Glenn's digital illustrations are bold, expressive, and powerful. And she's included some fun treats for the readers to look for. This is an important book, affirming that there is no one "right" princess. A great affirmation to be the best YOU that you can possibly be, imperfect and gloriously unique.  I hope this book gets into every library.

 

Resources:

- listen to Ebony Glenn's discussion of the book and her process of illustrating it (http://picturebooking.libsyn.com/not-quite-snow-white);

- enjoy the activity sheets Harper Collins supplies (https://b0f646cfbd7462424f7a-f9758a43fb7c33cc8adda0fd36101899.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/activity-guides/AG-9780062798602.pdf);

- if you could choose any role (from a book or movie), who would you like to audition for?

- write a description or draw a picture of an activity that makes you happy;

- have you ever heard negative comments like this about yourself or a friend? What did or could you do? 

 

If you missed Ashley Franklin's interview on Monday, find it (here). 

 

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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