Kid Lit Review of “Not Quite Snow White” by Ashley Franklin

Tameika is a little girl who enjoys dancing and singing, and loves to perform in shows at school. She had been a cucumber, a space cowgirl, a dinosaur, and a singing mermaid. But when she went to try out for the part of Snow White, the other kids laughed at her and told her she was “too tall,” too chubby,” and most importantly in their eyes, “too brown.”

[The author did not point out the bizarre hypocrisy of people thinking it was okay that Tameika didn’t resemble a cucumber or dinosaur enough to prevent her from playing those roles, but not a white person. Adults could emphasize how bigotry plays a distorted role in perceptions.]

Tameika was sad, and felt a loss of confidence. She confided her feelings to her parents, who assured her she had “just enough of the all the right stuff,” and was a princess in their eyes in any event.

The next day, Tameika went to the audition, closed her eyes, “and imagined she was singing and dancing for her favorite audience of friends (stuffed and unstuffed).”

The book ends showing the case of Snow White in front of a cheering audience, with Tameika playing the lead.

Animation-inspired digital art by Ebony Glenn are colorful, active, and affirming.

Evaluation: This story for ages 4 and up illustrates for kids the lesson brought home to adults in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize winning play and movie “Hamilton,” in which a cast of Black and brown actors filled the roles of historic white figures, and the results delighted everyone. Here too, we see that what counts for playing a part is not what color your skin is or what texture your hair is, but how much talent you have. We also see the strong role support by loving parents can play in the process.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019

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