So perfect are the Pre-Raphaelite details and gestures that it's easy to imagine Kinuko Craft's (Adventures of Tom Thumb) paintings hanging in a gallery. Her husband Mahlon Craft's enhanced version of Sleeping Beauty affords wide scope for the artist's romanticism. In a new episode at the outset, for example, the queen meets a frog that predicts the birth of her daughter; in the facing art, the queen, dressed in a diaphanous white gown, languidly loosens her hair ribbon, while the frog, brought forward by cunning attention to light and detail, waits to speak to her. The backdrop is a dark forest, and the effect is properly otherworldly. Farther on, when the king and queen discover the evil fairy's handiwork, the good fairy comes to ease their grief; Craft portrays the fairy descending from gilded clouds, driving a chariot drawn by dragons. The fairies are transparent, like spirits; the evil fairy is a gothic horror in black draperies. Aurora is ethereally lovely, the landscapes magnificent and the palace splendid. Families aiming to assemble a library of classic fairy tales may well settle on this as the definitive Sleeping Beauty. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This tale of the sleeping princess was introduced to France in 1697 by Charles Perrault and translated into English as early as 1729. Later (1812) the Brothers Grimm included it in their collection as Dornröschen, with embellishments by Wilhelm. The story has even older roots. Mahlon F. Craft, husband of the illustrator and also the book's designer, has fashioned the text mostly from the Grimms' version, omitting the grisly latter part in Perrault (just as well) and including Wilhelm Grimm's additions of the frog at the beginning, details of the castle denizen's falling asleep and, best of all, the famous kiss (not mentioned by Perrault). Kinuko Craft, winner of many awards and illustrator of a variety of other folk tales, has contributed the richly glowing paintings. Especially dramatic are two scenes: the confrontation between Aurora's parents and the spurned fairy glowering from a smoky black cloud, and the good fairy arriving in a chariot of golden fire pulled by three dragons (from Perrault). While Craft hasn't sacrificed her love of creamy color or fondness for detail, she has avoided the fussiness and over-elaboration of her Cinderella. Using to advantage the opportunity to design costumes from periods a hundred years apart, she shows the court in late medieval attire, but dresses the young rescuer as an elegant Tudor prince straight out of Holbein. Although there is too much text for the youngest listeners, lovers of Briar Rose will cherish this lushly illustrated version from the Crafts. 2002, SeaStar/North-South, Talcroft <%ISBN%>1587171201
Gr 1-4-Through this sumptuous presentation, Princess Aurora joins that elite group of personages whose stories are ornamented by Craft's lush illustrative style. Building on the Grimms' shortened version, this retelling of the classic tale of kind and vengeful fairies, a 100-year sleep, and a determined prince is thoroughly embellished both literally and visually. The carefully posed and composed oil-on-watercolor paintings are imbued with lyrical enchantment and capture the elegance of 15th-century Europe. Charming details are everywhere: an illuminated manuscript-style letter opens each page, often incorporating details from the story, and the artwork includes such delightful touches as the grandiose dragon-drawn chariot of the 12th fairy and the somnolent canine guardian she gives Princess Aurora. The phrasing and vocabulary are appropriately formal and the pacing is dramatic, with pivotal moments commanding full-page spreads. A thoroughly enchanting and luxurious addition for any fairy-tale collection.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Illustrations as beautiful as Sleeping Beauty herself grace this traditional but sparse retelling of the 100-year enchantment of a princess who comes to be known as "Briar Rose." The enchantment is broken only when a brave knight has the courage to confidently enter the briar-covered castle, find the princess, and give her the kiss that breaks the spell. The tale is a showcase for K.Y. Craft's (The Adventures of Tom Thumb, 2001, etc.) elaborate, oil-over-watercolor illustrations. If there is need for yet another telling of this story, the richly detailed paintings brushed with gold are definitely the focal point of this edition. The title page illustration shows a sleeping princess, Aurora, in a circular frame that makes the viewing appear as a look through a telescope back into time. As readers step into the tale, the story unfolds with illuminated letters and full-page illustrations facing each full-page of text. Several scenes are given detailed and glorious double-paged spreads. The final illustration mirrors the circular shape of the first, and brings readers once again to the outside of the story, looking in on a castle in misty cloudlike surroundings. And of course, the princess and her prince live happy and contented lives and their story is remembered even to this day. Simply elegant. (Folklore. 6-11)