Book Review: Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 29th, 2018)
Hardcover, 304 pages
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Rump, comes the true story behind another unlikely hero: a grumpy dwarf who gets tangled up in Snow White’s feud with the wicked queen.

Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed “Grump”) has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind.
At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . .
When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He’s bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He’ll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that’s enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed.

Rating: 4 stars

Perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted books. Grump is a fun twist on the Snow White story you think you know, told from the point of view of “Grump,” a misfit dwarf who was born too close to the surface and it made him a little odd. (He actually reminds me a bit of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, always dreaming about the surface and collecting surface dweller things…) I love the way the dwarves are portrayed, both the individual characters in the book and as a culture. The world buliding is just so complex and spot-on. Also, the way this book explains the Evil Queen’s magic mirror and the whole “fairest” in the land thing is just awesome and explains so much that I never really understood from the original tale.

This book has so many little hidden gems. (See what I did there? That’s a dwarf joke.) I LOVE the little Rapunzel shout-out bit when the Queen orders her servants to take a beautiful baby from her mother, and then assigns a servant woman named Gothel to lock the baby up and look after her… DUN DUN DUNNNN! There are so many other little tidbits too, I’m sure some of which I didn’t catch. I spent a goodly chunk of the first half of the book trying to match Grump’s dwarf friends up with their Disney counterparts, and was pleased when EVENTS happen later in the book that cause a few quirks to arise that made it clear who at least some of them are. And I knew they would probably align with the Disney movie when Snow White is running around with her best buddy Florian, as that’s the official Disney name of her Prince (even though his name is never actually mentioned in the movie).

Grump is written in a way that’s accessible to a middle-grade audience, but this book was fun for this 32-year-old Disney and fairy tale nerd as well. Grump would be an excellent book to read aloud to your child, to read along with your early reader, or to read alone for those ready to start some more complex chapter books.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

  1. It was sure fun! I LOVE those little \”insider\” type bits because I totally go \”HAHA, I totally understood that reference!\” and feel all superior for a (very) short amount of time, lol.


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