A brave servant seeks adventure and the hand of a princess in this modern adaptation of a lesser known Grimms’ tale.
Randall wants to do more with his life than serve at the beck and call of King Arnold, a ruler so self-absorbed that he would rather focus on having paintings hung than ruling his kingdom. His opportunity comes when Arnold sends him on a covert mission to Borisylvania to discover their king’s secret for ruling so justly. Randall’s sleuthing leads to his eating a piece of the eponymous white snake and gaining the power to understand animals. Returning to Arnold, Randall begins a quest for the princess’s hand in marriage that demonstrates the value of kindness and truly listening to others. Using comic-book–style graphics and panels, Nadler makes this tale fresh, multiethnic, and accessible to younger children. The artist is an expert at using facial expressions to draw out the tale’s humor and pathos. His shrewdest update, however, is the transformation of Princess Tilda from a prize-to-be-won supporting character into an adept and capable ruler who directly challenges her father’s outdated belief that a woman is incapable of wielding power well. This shift makes the relationship between Tilda and Randall a mutual meeting of the minds rather than a means for his social advancement. Randall has light brown skin and brown hair; Arnold and Tilda present black; the rulers of Borisylvania present white.
A sweet and amusing update. (Graphic fairy tale. 8-12)