A princess, locked in a castle in eternal slumber until awakened by ‘true love’s first kiss’. This has been told in three distinct ways, each with different art styles and narratives.
Grimm, Jacob, and Grimm, Wilhelm. The Sleeping Beauty. Illustrated by Monika Laimgruber. North-South Books, 1995. 32 pages. Tr. $1.99, 978-1558583993; PLB $9.00, 978-15585884006
Recommended Grade: PreK and up.
The original tale, with new artwork to give the story a more colorful effect for the reader. This title reads as more child-friendly, with the thorns guarding the castle magically gone after a hundred years and no real challenge for the prince to overcome (Grimm, 1995). A more curious thing is how there were 12 magical guests, with the 13th cursing the child and walking out. The drawing are very colorful and detailed, every single one worthy of being a classic painting that when combined with the text express the narrative in a quick, bright, tale any children can enjoy. Perfect to be read aloud to children of all ages, the reader can show the images to children without any concern of traumatizing the narratives.
Mayer, Mercer. The Sleeping Beauty. Atheneum, 1994. 48 pages. Tr. $17.63, 978-0027653403
Recommended Grade: 4th Grade and up.
This retelling, uses more water color art than the story above. It also goes into greater detail not only about why one of the Fae curses the King and Queen and then the princess but also gives the Prince greater odyssey to overcome into the form of an ogre, sirens, and created a unique twist where the Princess saw her Prince’s journey through her dreams and fell in love for his dedication (Mayer, 1984). There is a greater resolution, where the enraged Blue Fairy doomed herself by pushing her luck with curses. The art is beautiful, some of the images might be a bit more intense with scary images of bones and violent beasts in the background but the story is better detailed by giving the couple more detail about how their love develops. The violence within the book would make it more appropriate for children between the ages of 8 to 10, especially with the drama among the adults in the narrative. Perfect to be read aloud, with parental supervision because of the violence within the story.
Gaiman, Neil. The Sleeper and the Spindle. By Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell. Harper Collins, 2015. 64 pages. Tr. $13.57, 978-0062398246
Recommended Grade: 6th Grade and up.
Neil Gaiman took the tale of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and combined them into a curious combination. It acts as a sequel to Snow White, though she’s not called that in the book, and decides to cancel her intended wedding to investigate a nearby kingdom’s inexplicable sleeping sickness with three dwarf companions (Gaiman, 2015). The artwork lacks color but it carefully detailed to highlight spiderwebs woven around the sleeping, yet not gently resting, sleeper,s and the other color besides black and white is gold which is used in the lettering and yo highlight specific items within the pictures. A twist occurs where Snow White, called the Queen, awakens the Sleeping Beauty with a kiss instead of it being the Prince, but the situation is not all that it seems, nor is the Sleeping Beauty (Gaiman, 2015). It is a quick and grim story with Gaiman’s wit breathing a kinetic energy that improves on the original story with detail and character motivation, which makes it and Mayer’s story a far more endearing tale for modern readers. This tale is appropriate for all ages, though it might be considered controversial because of the kiss between the two women but it is not romantic and treated more as custom more than out of romantic desire by the Queen. One of the big draws is that there’s no Prince, the Queen is the one seeking adventure and a chance to save her kingdom and she does not need to be rescued, she comes with sword drawn and armored chain mail perfect for a fight. The images can be slightly frightening but it is effective for a reading aloud to children, with parental supervision due to the kiss.
Gaiman, N. 2015. The Sleeper and the Spindle. New York, NY. Harper.
Grimm, J. & Grimm, W. 1995. The Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY. North South Books.
Mayer, M. 1984. The Sleeping Beauty. New York. NY. Macmillan Publishing Company.