Book Review: Snow White An Islamic Tale

By Kirkus Reviews (paywall)

SNOW WHITE_cov

In this version, the heroine is pious as well as pretty.

Here the setting is Anatolia (in Turkey), which looks similar to a European landscape. Snow White is not a princess, but she still has a jealous stepmother who sends a huntsman to kill her. Seven female dwarfs, all kind and religious, find the girl on their doorstep after the huntsman refuses to do the evil deed. It may sound more or less like the usual story, but the poisoned apple becomes poisoned dates, the fruit that traditionally breaks the Ramadan fast. The poisoned fruit is not dislodged from the girl’s throat when servants stumble, carrying her glass coffin to the prince’s palace (as in Grimm). Nor does the prince kiss Snow White (as in Disney). Here, the prince’s mother and a doctor awaken her with medicine and prayer. The gruesome Grimm ending changes, as it does in many children’s versions, though with a twist: Snow White grants mercy to her evil stepmother and recites a verse from the Quran. Such verses are quoted throughout the text, with references provided. The full-color watercolors, with some Anatolian details in clothing and household goods, are attractive, but the faces are sometimes awkward. Snow White (not quite beautiful) and the stepmother don’t always look the same on different pages.

Created for religious Muslim children, this may be of interest to institutions or families seeking such materials. (glossary) (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-9)

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Snow White: An Islamic Tale

We are putting the final touches on a new children’s book at the minute. It’s still a few months away though so don’t start a stampede down to your local book seller just yet.

Snow White: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani, illustrated by Shireen Adams

Involving the power of a djinn, poisoned dates, seven dwarf sisters-in-faith and a mysterious old peddler woman in the woods wearing a face veil, this lyrically-told story offers a unique twist on this fairy tale, whilst keeping the classic much-loved story intact, that includes a hateful and vain stepmother, a considerate huntsman and a charming prince.

Set in the heady snow-strewn woodlands of Anatolia by the illustrator Shireen Adams, this tale of flight, friendship and forgiveness is richly detailed, and beautifully brought to life.

Snow White is the second book in the ‘Islamic Fairy Tales’ series, which looks to offer meaningful and faithful variants of these popular worldwide stories.

 

Fawzia Gilani has worked as a teacher, librarian and school principal in the UK, USA and Canada since 1993. She is the author of thirty children’s books, mostly on the topic of Eid.