Like many girls, my childhood was marked by a princess obsession. Even before I knew how to read, I pored over Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations in Rapunzel and Dorothée Duntze's in The Twelve Dancing Princesses. My favorite princess of all was Snow White, and I proved my devotion by rewatching Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on VHS every day for a year. (Sorry, Mama.)
Disney's Snow White is definitely a classic, but there are many other wonderful versions of this story waiting to be explored.
Rimonah of the Flashing Sword is a colorful North African retelling, in which the heroine, Rimonah, has "skin as dark as a pomegranate, eyes as bright as pomegranate seeds and a voice as sweet as pomegranate juice." Bonus: Unlike Snow White, Rimonah can handle a sword.
Then there's Blanca Nieve y los siete gigantones. In this rhyming rendition of Snow White, Blanca Nieve lives in a tropical land, surrounded by palm trees. She stumbles upon seven giants, not dwarves, and is rescued by a commoner, not a prince.
Did you know there is even a graphic novel version of Snow White? In Snow White and the Seven Robots—which is set on the planet Tech World—Snow White is the smartest in the land, a talented engineer and an advocate for downtrodden robots. The Queen fears her not for her beauty, but for her intelligence.
Older readers, especially fans of Ella Enchanted, will love Gail Carson Levine's Fairest. Aza feels ugly and unpopular, but she has a beautiful singing voice and unusual strength of character. This spin on Snow White emphasizes that there are more important things in life than being pretty.
Finally, my favorite book interpretation of Snow White remains the one I grew up with: the Caldecott Honor book Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs. Every time I pick this up, Nancy Ekholm Burkert's intricate illustrations transport me to a medieval forest in deepest Bavaria. How many creatures can you find lurking in her woods?