Jan 16, 2012

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs translate by Wanda Gág
Illustrated by Wanda Gág
Originally Published in 1938
Caldecott Honor Book in 1939

     In response to the Disney's version of Snow White (1938), Wanda Gág offered a "freely translated and illustrated" Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Her translation brings back the original darkness of the Brothers Grimm.  In Gág's translation, Snow White is visited three different times by the Queen. The first time she is suffocated by the Queen tightening her bodice until Snow White lost her breath. The seven dwarfs came home in time to cut the laces and save her. The second time, the Queen tricks Snow White into wearing a poisonous comb, but once again, the dwarfs are back in time to remove it from her hair and save her. The third time, the Queen tricks Snow White with the poisoned apple, and when the dwarfs find Snow White, they are unable to identify the source of her malaise and she lays unconscious for years.   They stand watch everyday, while she lays inside a crystal casket, until a prince finds her and begs them to let him take her back with him to his castle. On the way to his castle, one of the Prince's servants who was carrying the casket, trips over a root. "This joggled the casket, and the jolt shook the piece of poisoned apple right out of Snow White's throat. And lo! she woke up at last and was as well as ever."  Snow White and the Prince plan their wedding and when the Queen shows up at the gala, "she was given a pair of red hot shoes with which she had to dance out her wicked life." No kissing and no old witch falling off a cliff.
     I was completely engrossed in Wanda Gág's translation and her wonderfully detailed illustrations.  This is a classic worth revisiting and sharing.

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