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In this humorous version of "Snow White," Joe Bright challenges the talents of storytelling enchantress Stella with his tales of seven book-loving genre dudes.
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Grade 2–5—In this loosely related version of Snow White, Stella the storyteller is jealous when Joe Bright begins winning audiences with his wonderful tales. When she tricks him into leaving town, he stumbles upon the home of the seven genre dudes, brothers who care for various types of books at the local library. Nonfiction is one genre, with folk literature and poetry assigned to two other brothers. Other siblings are the caretakers for mysteries, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and science fiction; fantasy is not included. After each dude describes his specialty, he asks Joe to be the library's storyteller. When Stella learns of this, she's angrier than ever. Using magic, she makes Joe forget his stories, but his seven friends help him out (further describing their genres in the process). In the end, the king decrees that both performers should travel together "spreading the joy of stories." Although the premise—learning about genres through a fractured fairy tale—is appealing, the book's illustrations are garishly colored with bold strokes, thick lines, and little gradation. The book is poorly designed, with a utilitarian font and disjointed spreads, and the rhyme is forced ("'Show me this fella, this so-called story tella!' demanded Stella"). A sometimes-confusing guide for teaching the genres, with worksheets, is included. The definitions in the puzzles and worksheets do not always correlate to what is expressed in the storybook. A great idea, poorly executed.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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