Judith's Book Review Archive

Our book club facilitator, Judith Rodby, is always on the lookout for good reads. Check out her latest reviews, and browse the archive below:







 Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin  

With fairy tale diction and lovely watercolor illustrations, in “Snow and Rose” Emily Winfield Martin creates a detailed world that captured my imagination. “Snow and Rose” is apparently a reimagining of a “little-known” quite fabulous fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red.”

Snow and Rose, once wealthy girls surrounded by servants and stunning gardens commissioned to “make love visible,” become impoverished when their father goes out to the woods and doesn’t return.  Thus begins their search for him. Along the way they befriend a boy Ivo whose family lives underground and a “little man” who legs are “on backwards.” Ivo  transforms into a wolf but not before teaching them about mushrooms and the forest full of wolves.  They rescue a bear from a trap. They escape bandits.  They are superbly brave. And all of this in a world filled with small things of beauty: “a clearing of wild violets”… “a flower that looked like a ballet slipper, a small bone, a brilliant blue feather as long as Snow’s arm…”.

One of my favorite creations is the librarian and her tower-like structure with a winding staircase, a library full, not of books, but of objects that somehow reveal or enable stories – a pair of scissors for Snow and a key for Rose come in handy as they search for their missing father. 



  Furthermore by Tahereth Mafi

Tahereth Mafi has created a complicated world in which young people are faced with a task called “the surrender.”  Twelve year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow fails her assigned challenge, and as a result she runs away from the land of Ferenwood to the dangerous world of Furthermore to try to find her missing father (another missing father?). With her friend Oliver, Alice, whose skin and hair are colorless in a world that is otherwise brightly pigmented, explores the land of Furthermore searching for her father who has disappeared with only a ruler in his pocket. The town of Furthermore is full of tricks, peopled with a panoply of interesting characters such as a beautiful boy named Seldom tattooed in gold. The omniscient narrator talks to the reader and gives hints about where Alice is, what the rules are, and how she should move from one place to another.

A bit strangely, Alice’s yearning for her absent father nearly overwhelms her, and her mother portrayed, for most of the novel, as cold and heartless, only comes to life in the last pages, demonstrating her love for Alice.  Nonetheless, this is a very interesting tale, perhaps more suited for older middle-graders because of the intricacy of the story, the role of the narrator, and the vocabulary.