Endlessly Ever After: Pick YOUR Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! by Laurel Snyder and Dan Santat

Hi, Laurel Snyder! Hi, Dan Santat! I wish we were having this conversation in person about your FANTASTIC collaboration. I miss seeing both of you at conferences!

One day soon!

I hope!

OK, let’s talk about Endlessly Ever After’s amazing subtitle. Laurel, take it away! ☺

Laurel Snyder: I’m afraid I can’t take credit for the subtitle. We went around in circles trying to find a way to say “Choose-your-own-adventure” without actually using those words, and tossed around a bunch of different versions. I think “Pick YOUR Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings!” was initially a suggestion from my friend Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, but it’s hard to recall.

The other part of the subtitle, the list, was something the good folks at Chronicle came up with. I love that element! It reminds me of some older books I loved as a kid, and more recently, Despereaux. I love titles, in general. Naming things is one of my favorite parts of the writing process, but for this book, it took a team.

Dan, I believe you and Laurel talked about Endlessly Ever After before you actually read the manuscript. 

Dan Santat: I always wanted to work on a choose your own adventure book. I feel like they’re old literary relics from the past and so I jumped at the opportunity. What completely took me by surprise was that Laurel integrated so many other fairy tales into the story. I thought it was just going to be variations of the Little Red Riding Hood story, but she ended up adding Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and so many others. It was the complete package

Laurel, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Dan Santat’s illustrations totally wowed me. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time, and he brings such imagination to everything he does, but I still wasn’t prepared for the art in this book. There’s so much action and motion in it! It’s an indescribable feeling to watch someone bring your words to life like that. It really feels like magic.

Fairy tales were such a part of my childhood! Of course I grew up with Disney, but I also grew up with a huge range of darker stories. From Grimm and Anderson to Jewish and Irish folklore. I spent hours staring at Michael Hague’s illustrations for The Little Mermaid, or rereading Oscar Wilde stories. I feel like Dan did an extraordinary job of blending the playful and the heavy, the darkness and the light. This book has huge emotional range, and I’m really proud of that.

Dan, please finish the following sentence starters:

Endlessly Ever After’s endpapers is an attempt at giving a nod to the tiny little iconic things that exist in fairy tales but don’t typically get much credit otherwise. Grandma’s spectacle, Little Red Riding Hood’s picnic basket, the Woodsman’s axe, and other things like that.

Pick-your-path stories are surprisingly harder to design than I had originally thought! When I got the manuscript I saw that there was also a story tree drawn on a piece of paper that was attached to the word document. It didn’t make any sense at first glance but it was an absolutely essential page. If you create one art error in one story thread it ripples down into various other threads of the story and you always end up fixing more than one page. Thank goodness for copyeditors!

Thank you, Laurel and Dan! 

Laurel Snyder is the author of many children's books, including Swan, Hungry Jim, and Charlie & Mouse, which won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Laurel teaches creative writing at Hamline University and lives with her family in Atlanta, GA.

Dan Santat is a Caldecott-Medal-winning author-illustrator of many children's books. An honors graduate of ArtCenter College of Design, in Pasadena, he is also the creator of the Disney animated hit The Replacements. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and various pets.

Look for Endlessly Ever After on April 5, 2022.


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