Friday, August 12, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Secrets, Monsters & Magic Mirrors

Media Type: Graphic Novel
Title: Secrets, Monsters & Magic Mirrors
Author: Donald B. Lemke
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: Capstone
Pages: Paperback; 176
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Source: NetGalley

Five of the world's greatest fairy tales are retold in the popular and attractive graphic novel format. Beautiful, bold illustrations give these timeless tales a modern edge. The stories include Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Princess and the Pea, Snow White, and Thumbelina.

Overall, Secrets, Monsters & Magic Mirrors is a pretty nice retelling of fairy tales. What really kept me from falling for this compilation though was the choice in the tales themselves. In order to keep things simple, it was decided to pick the most watered down version of each of the fairy tales that are featured. No embellishments, no excitement, just the bare bones story.

Now I'm not saying that I wanted something overly stylized. Nothing Disney-esque. Quite the opposite actually! The original Grimm's fairy tales are fantastic all on their own. I would have liked to see some of the intrigue, and the darkness from those brought over into this compilation. After all, what is a fairy tale without a little magic thrown in now and then?

What saved this for me, and made me swoon, was the illustrations. I loved the fact that each story had it's own set of illustrators. From the highly colored, vivid and downright adorable graphics in Snow White, to the more anime flavored graphics in Princess and the Pea, each story had it's own life to it. I think for the most part they all fit perfectly! Each illustrator brought their own voice to the story that they were bringing to life.

Final verdict? I'd say this is definitely a graphic novel to borrow at the library. I also think it would be a fantastic way to share fairy tales with beginning readers. There isn't really anything overly gory, sexual or inappropriate in the illustrations. This could be a way to bring the fairy tales they already know and love to life.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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