Whatever After, Fairest of All
By Sarah Mlynowski

Fairy Tale

Interest level: 3-5th grade
Grade level equivalent: 3

10 year old Abby has just moved from Chicago, her nana, and all things familiar to Smithsville. Here, they call pop soda, make their banana and peanut butter sandwiches incorrectly, and play freeze tag instead of regular tag. Everything is wrong. Her little brother loves to explore. One night, he finds a magic mirror in their basement. Abby and Jonah are transported through the mirror into the fairy tale land of Snow White. As all time-travelers know, if you change the past, you also change the future. By landing in Snow White’s land, they keep the evil queen from giving Snow the poisoned apple, therefore changing the way that Snow and Prince Charming meet. Have Abby and Jonah ruined Snow’s chance of marrying the prince and thrown away her happily ever after?

Fairest of All is puts a modern twist on a familiar story. Snow isn’t sure that she wants to marry the prince. When the prince, inevitably, gives her a kiss, drops to one knee, and asks her to marry him, she says, “Seriously? We just met 5 minutes ago.” They agree on dinner. Because girls love fairy tales, this book would appeal more to girls. However, the marketers have made sure that boys would not be caught dead holding this book. The cover has a young girl, wearing pink, and holding an apple on the cover. It is a shame that the marketer has pigeonholed this book because it is a great adventure that boys would enjoy too.

Fairest of All encompasses all things tween. Dealing with change, adventures without parents, using a lie, and changing from a person afraid of change to one who is solving problems, dealing with dangerous challenges, and thinking for yourself. After pushing Snow to marry the prince, she realizes that Snow is only 16, that’s “crazy young to get married, at least in her world.” Also in tween fashion, upon returning home, both want to climb in bed with their parents.

Mlynowski, S. (2012). Whatever After Fairest of All. New York, New York: Scholastic Press.