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Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All Hardcover – November 10, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Beautifully written and deliciously scary."
Publishers Weekly

"Yolen spins an interesting variation of the classic Snow White story."
Kirkus Reviews

"A well-imagined and well-told addition to collections of retold fairy tales."
School Library Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jane Yolen is the author of over three hundred books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Her books and stories have won numerous awards and accolades including the Caldecott Award, National Book Award Finalist, Golden Kite Award, Christopher Medal, The World Fantasy Award, Sydney Taylor Book Award, Maud Hart Lovelace Award and numerous state award lists. She splits her time between Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256639
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,595,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Molly Grue on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Snow in Summer, born in 1937 and named after a flower, is only seven years old when her beloved mother dies and her father, Lemuel Morton, becomes depressed. Cousin Nancy Morton, a war widow, takes care of Summer for the next four years, and when a spring returns to Lemuel's step, the townsfolk conclude that Summer's father has stopped mourning and is ready to propose to Cousin Nancy.

Instead, Lemuel marries a beautiful stranger before abruptly sinking into an even more profound state of listlessness. Cousin Nancy feels unwelcome and withdraws from the new household, and Summer, with the eagerness of any child seeking a parent's affection, does everything her stepmother asks her to. When, over the course of the next two years, her stepmother becomes critical, then abusive, Summer feels ashamed and responsible, but as Cousin Nancy gradually begins to intervene, Summer builds up some defenses, both emotional and magical. Still, neither Cousin Nancy nor Summer suspect precisely how dangerous Stepmama's plans are until it's nearly too late.

Stepmama takes thirteen year old Summer to meet Hunter, a man who is presumably interested in courting a girl ten years his junior, but is actually planning to help Stepmama carry out her nefarious scheme...

Yolen's short story "Snow in Summer", first published in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's anthology Black Heart, Ivory Bones, served as the basis for this novel, and up until this point, this very effective tale is told gradually and in great detail by three different narrators, Summer, Cousin Nancy and Stepmama.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We begin with a description of an old photograph showing a little girl named Snow in Summer on the day of her mother's funeral. Her father is oblivious to the existence of his seven-year-old daughter, devoured by his grief. Only Cousin Nancy is aware of Summer and her needs. She holds the little girl by the hand, offering comfort.

Jane Yolen's retelling of the Snow White story is eerie and immediate. The Appalachian setting adds both simplicity and strangeness as we watch the child's life changed, first by her mother's death and her father's withdrawal and later by the menacing incursion of the woman who marries her father.

Snow in Summer is almost a horror story when it comes to the wicked stepmother. Although the child named Summer suffers when her father ignores her, at least she has Cousin Nancy, who continues to care for her, stopping by the house each day to get her ready for school and cook her meals.

Most of the chapters in Yolen's story are told by Snow in Summer herself, but some are memories recounted by Cousin Nancy and even Stepmama. When Snow (as Stepmama names her) watches her father snared in a graveyard by the woman from up the mountain, there is clearly dark magic involved. Early in the book--in Stepmama's first memory chapter--we learn that the woman was trained by a great conjurer. We also find out that Stepmama can increase her personal magic by taking someone else's years. She has plans for Snow, as well as for Snow's father and his property. But she claims she won't make Snow and her father suffer--too much. As she tells herself, "After all, I'm not a wicked woman."

The creepy little details are actually more striking than the things Stepmama tells us in her chapters. The way she has one green eye and one blue eye.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Snow-in-Summer Morton's life changed forever at age seven when her mother died in childbirth, leaving her alone and her father, Lemuel, with a broken heart. Cousin Nancy, the widow of Summer's father's favorite cousin who was recently killed in World War II, helps to care for Summer after her father slips into a deep, dark grief unable to cope with the death of his beloved wife. One day, four years later, now eleven-year old Summer is shocked when Lemuel returns home with a mysterious but beautiful woman. Cousin Nancy and the rest of the townsfolk in Addison, West Virginia fear that Lemuel has become bewitched by the enchanting woman. When Lemuel quickly marries her, Summer hopes that she, her father and her new Stepmama will be able to form the family she's longed for. As the years pass, however, Summer begins to realize that Stepmama is far from loving. Stepmama seems to have Lemuel in some kind of spell causing him to become withdrawn and unaware. In the meantime, Summer is subjected to abuse and eerie behavior at the hands of the woman, while Cousin Nancy can only look on in worry about her goddaughter. One day, Summer happens into Stepmama's room where she encounters a strange mirror that seems to speak to her. The mirror warns of danger, danger that threatens to end in Summer's death. Will Summer ever be able to escape the clutches of the woman that appears to have bewitched the entire town and save her father's life?

From award-winning author Jane Yolen comes this enchanting re-telling of the classic Snow White story set in 1940s Appalachia. The author is clearly a masterful storyteller as Snow in Summer flows easily and quickly from start to finish.
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