“Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors” accurately advertises itself as five fairy tales in one graphic novel. In this installment, the reader will find Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Beauty and the Beast, and the Princess and the Pea. Be forewarned, these are the (semi) original versions of the fairy tales and not the watered down Disney adaptations that people are so fond of. Personally, I love these oldies just the way that they are. The illustrations are beautiful while a little eerie, just like the tone of a good fairy tale. It is a slim volume of under 200 but little is left out of these stories. Personally, I think it is a great collection.
Each of the stories is illustrated by a different author and therefore has a bit of a different tone. This ensures that the reader never gets bored and there is something for everyone here. With stories as tried and true as these, it is hard to find new and interesting adaptations. While these are traditional tellings, the illustrations are very different from any previous collections I have seen. Even though each story is crafted by a different artist, the design remains similar and therefore unifies the collection.
What is special about this edition, is that following each story there is a one page history of the story and/or its author. For example, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is thought to be based on the real life of Margaret von Waldeck. There are other fascinating tidbits on each of these stories that will make you question if you really know your fairy tales.
Personally, I was a bit disappointed by the illustrations for “Snow White” as it looked computer generated and not as inventive as the other stories in the collection. Still, I would recommend this to lovers of fairy tales and graphic novels alike. I will certainly be picking up the other books in the series.