This version of the oft-told story opens with a fusty philosophical frontispiece: “Many see Time as a friend, and many see Time as a foe. But for a sleeping beauty, Time was a promise.”
With no source information or attribution to Perrault, the clear, readable, but unadorned text generally follows the first part of the French version, up to the awakening of Sleeping Beauty (a kiss on the hand here but just the end of the enchantment in the original). A few other details vary: the princess finds the old woman spinning in a little cottage rather than in a castle upper room, and here the girl’s parents ask to be put to sleep along with all the courtiers. (In the original they leave the castle.) Rylant’s name is a draw, but the text is not distinguished. The painterly, digital illustrations have a modern Disney-esque feeling but are not actively linked to the 1959 movie or Maleficent. The seven invited fairies have different skin tones. Described as old by Perrault, the eighth, uninvited fairy, responsible for the curse, has angry features some may read as Asian (there is no “good” Asian fairy) and looks just a bit older than the others, who resemble cute young teens. The princess and her parents are white, and the prince is also pale-complexioned.
This adequate but unnecessary new version could be left sleeping on the shelf. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)