It rhymes. It has cute crossovers. It has doe-eyed princesses who are unhappy with their lots.
Snow White is tired of cleaning up after seven dwarves, so she takes a walk and discovers the lonely tower of Rapunzel. Rapunzel is all too thrilled to get out, and Snow White wants to be alone, so they switch places. Trailing her impossibly long, blonde locks behind her, Rapunzel meets up with Cinderella, who would rather sleep than go to a ball. Leaving the pumpkin coach to Rapunzel, Cinderella finds Sleeping Beauty’s bed and keels over into it, accidentally kissing the slumberer on the cheek, which wakens her. Bringing the story full circle, the no-longer-sleeping Beauty comes upon the dwarves’ house, where there is Stuff! To! Do! In the end, of course, the princesses sort themselves back out, with Lessons: Snow White gives each dwarf a chore; Rapunzel negotiates a day trip each week; Cinderella opts for college over a prince; and Beauty discovers knitting is less prickly than spinning. Bright colors, strong line, and clearly differentiated hairstyles and clothing do not quite make up for something of a clunker at the end: “So, by talking things through and her problems amending, / each girl truly made her own fairy tale ending.”
It’s a promising concept but a pallid conclusion. (Picture book. 5-7)