Blanche Neige by Benjamin Lacombe ★★★★¾
We all know the story of Snow White, but what makes this picture book truly exceptional is the originality and quality of Benjamin Lacombe’s illustrations, most of which are full-page colour images (sometimes double page), with some excellent pencil drawings in the mix. His style might seem at first glance to be geared toward children, but part of what makes Lacombe’s work original is the macabre quality of his style, completely fitting for this story of course. This is sometimes seen in the concept of the image itself, but is also worked in to the incredible detailing, which makes one want to spend a long time scrutinizing each illustration. Add to this the fact that this large book is very well printed on quality paper, and you have yourself a truly special experience. There is one double-page spread which is a close-up of Snow White’s face as she bites into the apple which had me marvelling at Lacombe’s ability to convey the flawless complexion of youth, which had an almost tactile quality. It is as yet not available in English, but I would still urge you to pick up a copy wherever possible. The only reason I did not award this book a full five stars is that I would have liked to see the story end on another big and beautiful full size colour treat, and was left wanting at the last page. Call me spoiled.
Here is a small preview: