Thursday, February 5, 2015

‘Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups’ (Book Review)

Life as a fairy tale princess isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. But is the grass truly greener on the other side? Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty are about to find out in a new “prince and the pauper”-ish storybook Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups (Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2015).

When each beloved heroine becomes fed up with her lot in life, she welcomes an opportunity to have someone else take her place. Yet walking in another girl’s shoes comes with its own difficulties. Each “princess” eventually learns to appreciate what she has and be courageous enough to make changes in her own life.

Sleeping Cinderella is a great “read-aloud” book that would make a wonderful gift or addition to your school or public library. It is a large hardback, filled with lots of pictures to capture a child’s imagination. The “princess” names are even singled out in an elegant-looking cursive while the main text is left in a more practical font for a child to attempt to read.

While rhymes in general have a tendency to get tedious after a while, I think they do serve as an aid to beginner readers. Author Stephanie Clarkson weaves together some cute ones that give an old-time sensibility to this modern twist. This complements illustrator Brigette Barrager’s age-appropriate artwork, which also has an updated flavor. In addition, the “princess” looks are also familiar without screaming “Disney copycat.” The overall product appeals to the target age group of 4-8-years old (Pre-Kindergarten to 3rd Grade), but it’s organized so that even a 3-year-old would be able to keep track of who is who in this fairy tale “swap.”

Sleeping Cinderella certainly isn’t a book for the traditionalist when it comes to fairy tales. And some children who have problems with anxiety might get frustrated by the resulting disorder. But overall, I think most readers will appreciate this humorous and unusual take on these familiar stories. And rather than get caught up in daydreams about a magical life with Prince Charming, girls might be encouraged to “think outside the box.” A happy ending doesn’t have to follow a stereotype. It is what you make of it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a First Reads giveaway winner on There was no obligation to write a review.