Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep

Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep

4.1 18
by Gail Carson Levine, Mark Elliott

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A spiteful fairy. A beautiful princess. An outstretched finger. A spindle. A hundred-year snooze. A charming prince. A kiss. All the familiar ingredients.

But wait! Where did that extra prince come from? And those fairy gifts that were never there before? And what does a flock of balding sheep have to do with anything?

Gail Carson Levine has waved her magic

…  See more details below


A spiteful fairy. A beautiful princess. An outstretched finger. A spindle. A hundred-year snooze. A charming prince. A kiss. All the familiar ingredients.

But wait! Where did that extra prince come from? And those fairy gifts that were never there before? And what does a flock of balding sheep have to do with anything?

Gail Carson Levine has waved her magic wand over the old standby of "Sleeping Beauty" and presto! It reappears, transformed, sparkling and hilarious. Chuckles and giggles are guaranteed.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Gail Carson Levine has carved out a niche in her spirited retellings of familiar folktales. From Ella Enchanted, The Fairy's Mistake, and The Princess Test to her latest Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, we are treated to heroines who are smart and feisty. At Princess Sonora's birth, one fairy blesses her with being ten times smarter than anyone else. At this point, baby Sonora understands everything that is happening, even the pronouncement of the uninvited Fairy Belladonna that Sonora will prick herself with a spindle and die. Fortunately, the last fairy wishes her sleep for one hundred years. To avoid the inevitable, Sonora hides the spindle in her own toy chest so she can choose when to prick herself. Nothing goes as planned. The outcome is something out of a French farce with Sonora still having the last word.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Princess Tales Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.62(d)
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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Chapter One

What a hideous baby, the fairy Arabella thought. She said, "My gift to Sonora is beauty." She touched the baby's yellow squooshed-up face with her wand.

The baby began to change. Her scrawny arms and legs became plump, and her blotchy yellow skin turned pink. Her pointy head became round. Honey-colored ringlets appeared on her scalp.

Ouch! It hurt to have your body change shape and to grow hair on your head in ten seconds. Sonora wailed.

King Humphrey II of Biddle thought, Why did the fairy do that? As his first-born child-as his lovey dovey oodle boodle baby-she had been fine the way she was. But he bowed low to the fairy. "Thank you, Arabella. What a wonderful gift." A person could get into a lot of trouble for failing to thank a fairy.

Queen Hermione II picked up the yowling baby and cuddled her. Then she curtsied deeply and thanked the fairy too, even though she wanted to wail along with her daughter. Sonora looks six months old, the queen thought. I wanted to watch her grow.

Gradually Sonora stopped crying, and her mother put her back into the gilded cradle. Time for the second fairy gift.

The fairy Allegra waved her wand over the baby. "I give Sonora the gift of a loving heart."

Something was happening again, Sonora realized. But this was better. This didn't hurt. She pictured the tall being and the soft being who fed her and held her and made noises to her. They were nice! She loved them! She said, "Goo," and blew a wet bubble.

Adorable! King Humphrey II thought.

Sweet! Queen Hermione II thought.

"My turn!" The fairy Adalissia stepped up to the cradle.

Adalissia gave Sonora gracefulness. Then the fairy Annadora gave her goodhealth, and the fairy Antonetta made her the smartest human in the world.Not much changed when Sonora got good health, since she was healthy already. And not much changed when she got gracefulness, because month-old babies don't have much opportunity to be graceful. But something did happen when Antonetta made her a smart person. Sonora listened more closely when the nice beings thanked the fairy. She noticed her own name and knew that she'd heard it before.

Aurora, the sixth fairy, was flustered. She had planned to make Sonora the smartest person in the world, but that miserable Antonetta had stolen her gift. Now what could she give the baby?

She could make the child beautiful. But no, Arabella had already used that one. Adalissia had done gracefulness. What was left? They were all looking at her. They were laughing behind their sympathetic faces, glad they had been at the head of the line.

"Er . . ." Aurora waved her wand vaguely. Then she had it. It was so simple. It was much better than Antonetta's. She leaned over the cradle and touched Sonora on the nose with her wand. "My gift is brilliance. Sonora is ten times as smart as any human in the world." There.

Sonora felt something happen again, a tickle and a little shake inside her head. Then-it was done. She closed her eyes to think, really think, for the first time. She listened to the noise the tall being was making. She remembered all the noises people had made with their mouths since she'd been born. Some of the noises sounded alike. Some of them always went together.

Now the soft being was making noises. They were words! The noises were words. She was thanking the fairy for her gift. She was hoping that Sonora (that's me! that's me!) would use her extraordinary intelligence well.

Sonora opened her eyes. The soft being was her mother. She was beautiful, with her big brown eyes and those lips that liked to smile at Sonora. Of course she loved her mother, since the fairy had just given her a loving heart. Sonora wondered why the fairy had done that. Didn't she think Sonora might be naturally loving?

The fairy Adrianna came forward to the cradle. "My gift-"The door to the royal nursery flew open. Adrianna gasped. The other fairies gasped. King Humphrey II gasped. Queen Hermione II gasped.

Sonora heard the gasps, but she could see only the things right above her, such as the pink dragon-shaped balloon that hung over the cradle. She thought, Why couldn't these fairies have given me something useful, like the ability to sit up and see what's going on?

A new fairy came in. She looked like all the others. Tall, with rubbery-looking wings, surrounded by a flickering rainbow of lights. Smiling like the others had been till a second ago.

Queen Hermione II rushed to the newcomer. "Belladonna! We're honored." In her mind she shouted, Don't hurt my baby! Don't hurt Sonora!

The fairy looked around the room. "Pretty nursery," she cooed in an extra-sweet voice. "Cuddly stuffed unicorn. Handsome dollcastle." She looked in the cradle. "Beautiful baby."

She looks angry, Sonora thought. You didn't have to be a genius to see that.Belladonna continued. "You failed to invite me to the naming ceremony of your only child. I suppose you have a reason?"

"We didn't invite you because we thought you . . ." The king stopped. He had been about to say they thought she was dead, but he couldn't say that. "We . . . uh . . . thought you'd moved away. We're so glad you could come."

"Can I get you some refreshment?" the queen asked. "We have some deli-"

"I didn't move. Nobody thinks I moved." The fairy circled the cradle. "Some stupid people think I'm dead, but let me tell you, I'm very much alive."

"We have some delicious-"

"You can't buy me off with food. Maybe you figured the kid would get enough gifts from the seven of them." Belladonna waved her wand at the other fairies.They drew back.

Belladonna went on. "You thought you'd economize-only buy seven gold plates, seven gold forks, seven gold . . ."

It's true, King Humphrey II thought unhappily. We do only have seven gold place settings, but because we thought she was dead. Not because we're stingy.

Queen Hermione II tried again. "There's plenty-"

"Maybe you thought I couldn't come up with a good gift. You thought I would run out of ideas, like Aurora here."

But I did think of a good gift, Aurora thought. How many people are ten times as smart as everybody else?

Belladonna roared, "You think I'm stupid like her? Is that what you think? Hump? Herm? Hmm?"

"Of course we don't think you're stupid," King Humphrey II said.

"I'll show you I can think of a new and special gift." She leaned over the cradle. "Kitchy coo."

Oh no, Sonora thought, wincing at the furious face. Somebody stop her! Do something!

Everyone was silent, frozen.

I have to do it, Sonora thought. I have to talk her out of whatever she's going to do.

"Excuse . . ." Her voice was too low. She'd never said anything before. She swallowed and tried again. "Excuse-"

Belladonna didn't hear.

"Annadora gave the baby good health, which she will keep until my gift takes place. So my gift to the ootsy tootsy baby"-she waved her wand-"is that she will prick herself with a spindle and die!"

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Meet the Author

Gail Carsn Levine grew up in New York City and has been writing all her life. Her first novel, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest, a New York Times bestseller, Publishers Weekly Best Book, and School Library Journal Best Book; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; Ever, a New York Times bestseller; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Writer to Writer, the poetry book Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems, and the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie, illustrated by Scott Nash. Gail and her husband, David, live in New York's Hudson Valley.

Mark Elliott is the illustrator of many picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine's ever-popular Princess Tales series. He lives in New York State's Hudson River Valley.

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