Sleeping Bobby


A beautiful baby, a sinister spell, a pricked finger, a hundred-year sleep, a true-love wake-up kiss.
We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, but not the one that Will and Mary Pope Osborne tell — with a handsome prince named Bob, a feisty princess who wakes him from his enchanted slumber, and charming artwork from acclaimed illustrator Giselle Potter. Here's a fresh, magical reworking of the classic fairy ...

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A beautiful baby, a sinister spell, a pricked finger, a hundred-year sleep, a true-love wake-up kiss.
We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, but not the one that Will and Mary Pope Osborne tell — with a handsome prince named Bob, a feisty princess who wakes him from his enchanted slumber, and charming artwork from acclaimed illustrator Giselle Potter. Here's a fresh, magical reworking of the classic fairy tale that's sure to have kids begging, "Read it again!"
As soon as he touched the wheel's spindle, a splinter pricked his finger.
"Ouch!" said Bob.
"Good night, Bobby," said the old woman.

A retelling of the Grimm tale featuring a handsome prince who is put into a deep sleep by a curse until he is awakened by the kiss of a brave princess.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The creators of Kate and the Beanstalk update "Sleeping Beauty" by casting Prince Bob in the lead. With that exception, this wittily told version adapts readily to the exchange of male and female roles. Prince Bob's birth is a joyous event, and the happy king and queen invite 12 Wise Women to bless their son: There are 13, "but since the queen had only enough good china to serve twelve, one had to be left out." After the uninvited guest declares that Bob will "prick his finger on a spindle" and die on his 18th birthday, another promises not death but instead a century-long nap. Despite his parents' attempts to banish all spinning wheels, Bob has "great curiosity and a taste for adventure," and gets lured to the dangerous instrument. Potter suspends the snoozing, sepia-tinted characters against an ethereal blue backdrop. Afterward, bachelorettes trade "rumors [of] a kind, clever, modest, and very handsome prince," and become tangled in the formidable palace hedge. Only one princess, with "a taste for adventure" like Bob's, beats the thorns ("If this Bob is all they say, it will take more than some shrubbery to keep me from meeting him"). The Osbornes' conversational prose lends itself to being read aloud, and Potter's mixed-media paintings suggest destined romance and humble magic between the well-matched couple. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
By now, Sleeping Beauty is probably one of the most famous fairy tales in Western culture. It has also been the topic of much debate from feminists. But what if the roles were reversed? The Osborne's retelling of the classic Grimm Brothers' fairy tale is actually fairly close to the original story. The one change is that the slumbering royal child is now Prince Bobby, and the person who rescues him with a kiss is a "kind, clever, modest, and very lovely princess." While there are other fairy tale retellings that offer more uniqueness rather than simply switching roles, by keeping the basic tale the same, the Osbornes tale conveys that princesses need not always be rescued. Giselle Potter's illustrations fit the tale style as well. They show dress and setting typical of fairy tales, but have a bit of a cartoonish feel. 2005, Anne Schwartz, Ages 4 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In the vein of Kate and the Beanstalk (2000) and The Brave Little Seamstress (2002, both S & S), the Osbornes' fairly faithful adaptation of the Grimm Brothers version of "Sleeping Beauty" is written in a breezy, readable style, and most details of the original story have been included. However, in place of the heroic prince who awakens the beautiful sleeping princess, a "kind, clever, modest, and very lovely princess" awakens sleeping Prince Bob. Potter's folk-style characters are dressed in Elizabethan garb with details such as puffed sleeves, high lace collars, and ruffs. The use of brown tones on blue backgrounds to indicate the sleeping household provides an interesting contrast. The dry wit of the text may be beyond the grasp of the youngest listeners, but everyone can appreciate the simplicity of the story and the humor in the detailed, mixed-media illustrations. As a read-aloud, this tale is sure to be a hit.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A third from the duo of Osborne and Potter, this one is less a feminist remake than simply a character gender swap. When a long-awaited son, Bob, is finally born to the royal couple, 12 of the kingdom's 13 Wise Women are invited to the feast (there is a shortage of china). The spurned Wise Woman gives Bob the traditional gift of death by spindle prick, while the 12th lessens the curse to a 100-year sleep. The Grimms' tale continues. Then, a "kind, clever, modest, and very lovely princess" with "great curiosity and a taste for adventure" sets out to find her fortune and determines she will seek the mysterious sleeping prince. When she finally lays eyes on him, she finds him so handsome that she just has to kiss him, thus awakening him and sparking their instantaneous love for each other. Potter continues the style set by the two earlier books-flat gouache-and-watercolor artwork in earth tones. Absent of the plucky, personality-rich heroines in their previous two outings, this one is an uninspiring disappointment save for Potter's art. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689876684
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,041,005
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne is the award-winning author of many distinguished books for children and young adults, including the bestselling Magic Treehouse series; Favorite Medieval Tales, illustrated by Troy Howell; American Tall Tales, illustrated by Michael McCurdy; Rocking Horse Christmas, illustrated by Ned Bittinger; and Adaline Falling Star. The former president of the Author's Guild, she lives in New York City with her husband, Will.

Giselle Potter is the author and illustrator of The Year I Didn't Go to School, which is based upon her travels around Italy with her family's theater troupe at age seven. She is also the illustrator of The Brave Little Seamstress and Kate and the Beanstalk, both by Mary Pope Osborne, The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack, and Gabriella's Song by Candace Fleming. Ms. Potter lives in Rosendale, New York.


Ever since 1992, Mary Pope Osborne has been thrilling kids everywhere with her delightfully exciting Magic Tree House series. The globetrotting escapades of time travelers Jack and Annie are brimming with adventure and magic (not to mention some subtly placed lessons on history and geography). With a life like Osborne's, it's only natural that she would be capable of bringing such wondrous stories to life.

Osborne was brought up in a military family, and her parents' work led to a lifestyle marked by constant change. "By the time I was 15," she says on, "I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina." While many kids would probably feel disoriented by such constant change, Osborne wouldn't have had it any other way. "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was. When my dad finally retired to a small town in North Carolina, I nearly went crazy with boredom. I craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life."

And adventure is exactly what Osborne got! After college, she embarked on a series of daring treks across the globe that would surely give Jack and Annie a run for their money. "For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete," she said. "Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to 'The East.' We traveled through 11 Asian countries and nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then in a riot in Kabul."

Following an illness she contracted in Katmandu, Osborne returned home to the U.S. trying her hand at a vast variety of jobs: window dresser, medical assistant, Russian travel consultant, waitress, bartender, and an assistant editor at a children's magazine. Although Osborne had unconsciously moved closer toward her ultimate career, she says that her first attempts at writing seemed to come without warning. "One day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an 11-year-old girl in the South," she recalls. "The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my became a young adult novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. Finally, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up."

She sure did! Since then, Osborne has penned a slew of stories, including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade biographies, and young adult novels; but she is indisputably best known for her wonderful Magic Tree House books, a happy hodge-podge of history and mystery with a time travel theme kids find irresistible. No doubt inspired by Osborne's own highly adventurous life, these exiting expeditions have attracted droves of children and pleased educators by combining compulsively readable storytelling with useful facts about geography and history.

As was written of the series in Children's Literature, "Mary Pope Osborne provides nicely paced excitement for young readers, and there's just enough information mixed in so that children will take away some historical fact along with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a chapter book." As much as Osborne has certainly pleased her readers (not to mention their parents and teachers), perhaps no one is quite as pleased as she. "I'm one of those very lucky people who absolutely loves what they do for a living," she explained. "There is no career better suited to my eccentricities, strengths, and passions than that of a children's book author."

Good To Know

A few fascinating outtakes from our interview with Osborne:

"One of the most defining experiences of my life was traveling overland in an old van through the Middle East and Asia in the early 1970's. One day, when a small group of us were camped in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, we saw a woman riding horseback over the sloping plain. Her long brown hair floated on the wind and she wore a bright gypsy-style dress. When she got closer, I realized she was one of my roommates from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill! Though I didn't even know she'd left the U.S.—and she didn't know I was in Afghanistan, we weren't that surprised to come upon each other. That says a lot about the times we were living in then."

"After 26 years of living in New York City, my husband Will and I now spend most of our time in Northwestern Connecticut, living in a house that overlooks a lake. We kayak and hike with our two Norfolk terriers, Joey and Mr. Bezo. Will's learning Italian, and I've been working with a tutor for two years trying to understand Dante's Divine Comedy. One of my biggest hobbies is reading philosophy and theology. We spend lots of time, of course, on our work. After writing three shows for the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina, Will's writing a musical based on the Magic Tree House series. I'm writing book # 38 in the series. I also spend a lot of time with my sister Natalie Pope Boyce who works on the Magic Tree House Research Guides. Natalie and our nephews and some of our best friends live nearby in the Berkshires Hills of Massachusetts, so we're up there a lot, too. My only complaint is there is not enough time to do all I want to do. For instance, I'd love to take drawing classes and I'd love to paint the lake we're living on. And I'd love to bird watch and become a better cook and learn about classical music. Maybe sometime in the future...."

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    1. Hometown:
      Goshen, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 20, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Sill, Oklahoma
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of North Carolina
    2. Website:

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