This new series from Dragonbreath’s Vernon puts a wild spin on “Sleeping Beauty.”
A droll opening introduces Harriet Hamsterbone (“who, as her name indicated, was a hamster”), an adventurous princess chafing against deportment, the requirements of her role, and other limitations imposed by her parents. When they reveal the source of their overprotectiveness (the “Sleeping Beauty” curse, with a hamster wheel on her 12th birthday substituting for the spinning wheel), Harriet takes a seemingly counterintuitive stance: since the curse requires her to be alive on her fateful birthday, until then she must be invincible. She gallivants around as an unstoppable hero before returning home for her birthday—to discover that her mother has prepared for the curse by picking a wretched, male-chauvinist prince to kiss and wake her once the curse sets in. Before it can, the evil fairy shows up to gloat, and a hilarious sequence leads to the backfiring of the curse, leaving Harriet the castle’s only hamster still awake. Now she must find a prince willing to kiss every last sleeping creature in the castle. Vernon deploys the same winning elements found in her Dragonbreath books, a mix of boldly drawn, two-tone cartoons, occasional speech bubbles, and a boisterously humorous text. Harriet is her own hamster, but she takes her place proudly alongside both Danny Dragonbreath and Babymouse.
Creatively fresh and feminist, with laughs on every single page. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 8-12)