Endlessly Ever After allows readers to mix and match traditional tales to the tune of catchy rhymes and lavish illustrations.
Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! by Laurel Snyder and Dan Santat. Chronicle, 2022, 85 pages.
Reading Level: Family Read-Alouds, ages 8-10
Recommended for: ages 4-7 as a read-aloud, 7-10 independently
Your mama shakes you out of bed. She says, “My darling dear,You need to run to Grandma’s, quick! She’s feeling ill, I fear . . .”
Sound familiar? “You” are Rosie, of the red hood, and your first choice is whether to wear your famous cloak or your faux fur coat. Seems simple, but when wolves and woodmen and little pigs and sleeping beauties lurk in the forest, even simple choices can lead to significant consequences as you turn to page 20 or 6. Yes, it’s Choose Your Own Adventure, but supercharged with lavish full-page spreads by Dan Santat and bright, bouncy rhyming couplets by Laurel Snyder: award winners both, and this book is a winner too.
As in all choose-your-own books, there’s no room for character development or subplots, but recognizable fairy-tale characters add a level of depth missing from most of this genre. Turn a few pages back and meet Jack. Leap almost to the end and fall out of a castle tower with Sleeping Beauty. Mixing and matching fairy-tale elements will have more resonance for readers who are already familiar with these stories, but even the littlest lap-sitters will bounce along with the rhyming text. It wraps up with a worthy reminder:
Some people sleep and drift and dream their stories all away./ Some people like to mind the path/ or stay at home to play./ But whether you adventure far/ or sit alone/ or snooze,/ the thing you must remember is/ that every day . . . you choose.
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Worldview/moral value: 3.5Artistic/literary value: 4.5
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Also at Redeemed Reader
Reviews: Other books by Laurel Snyder are Orphan Island, My Jasper June, and Seven Stories Up.
Reviews: Other books by Dan Santat are Drawn Together (starred review), The Caldecott-winning Adventures of Beekle, and The Aquanaut.
Reflection: My thoughts about Chesterton’s thoughts about fairy tales.
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