Enraged at not being invited to the princess' christening, the wicked fairy casts a spell that dooms the princess to sleep for one hundred years.
Children's Literature - Judy SilvermanWhile not politically correct these days, it is still a charming story. Bell is faithful to the original as far as I can tell. Laimgruber's pretty illustrations add flowers, animals, and birds. Her scenes of palace life and the line of guests waiting to get into the banquet are as realistic as can be-you can feel the heat as the guests' feet begin to ache. The people are not as satisfactory, but they're more than just acceptable.
School Library JournalK-Gr 3Bell's translation retains the fullness of the old story, but has clear and straightforward language. As a complement to the text, Laimgruber's illustrations froth with color and detail, the charming embellishments lending new buoyancy and light to a fairy tale thick with omens and shadows, dreads and dangers. The combination is felicitous, allowing young listeners entry into a compelling, mysterious world in which the dark elements are not sacrificed, but gently tempered (just as the 12th ``wise woman'' softens the curse on the baby princess). Alongside Cooper Eden's The Three Princesses (Bantam, 1991), with its interesting pastiche of classic illustrations, and in contrast to other picture book versionsthe elegant Errol LeCain (Bradbury, 1977; o.p.), the poetic and sensuous Trina Schart Hyman (Little, 1983), the intricate and expressive Mercer Mayer (Macmillan, 1984; o.p.), all quite sophisticatedthis new one is welcome and needed. Older readers may pass judgment on Laimgruber's Beauty: she is vibrant and appealing with her red curls and rounded features, but is neither striking nor glamorous. She is, rather, a plucky ``Anne of Green Gables'' sort of princess. One is reminded of Galdone's work in this respect, a favoring of humor and vivacity over ``prettiness.'' And as for the whimsical costumes of the wise women, Ms. Frizzle would approve!Susan Powers, Berkeley Carroll Street School, Brooklyn
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