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on April 29, 2001
This book tells the traditional story of Sleeping Beauty with magnificent language, accompanied by spectacular illustrations. As in the original, Sleeping Beauty's mother is told that her dream of having a child would finally come true and that she would have a baby girl. The Queen did have the baby girl and her husband was so pleased he threw the biggest and grandest birthday party. He invited all but one person and not inviting her was the result in a terrible spell cast upon his daughter, Briar Rose. The spell was to put her to sleep on her 15th birthday, in which it did, after she touched the spinning wheel. Only a handsome man could wake her from the spell, and many years later that is what one man did. By kissing her, she returned to life and brought the whole castle life back with her. What catches the reader's attention in this particular book is the depth and colors of the illustrations. The position of the text also is very relevant in this story. Each picture is extremely detailed and shows that a great amount of thought was put into completing each page. It is very unique that the placement of the words on each page is located in some form of an opening. The text is placed in open skies, doorways, and blank walls on each page. In the beginning of the book, when the tone is darker, opening words are placed in a smaller and darker area; when Sleeping Beauty is awoken, the tone is much livelier. An example of this transition is relevant on the first two pages of the book, from the time when you are told the Queen could not have children to the time she has given birth to a baby girl. The first picture has dark colors and the trees are scary, close together and representative of a dark tone. With a turn of the page the tone takes a great positive change with open skies, doves, and vibrant colors. The text on both pages is in the middle of the darkness and then in the middle of a window. The position of the text and the illustrations are key factors in determining the over all tone and mood of the story. This book tells such an amazing story with the pictures that words are not even necessary. Children can read this book and better understand because of the colors and detail that each picture possesses. The doves that are used on the page of the birth of Briar Rose and the end of the book symbolize her life and what joy she lived. The colors in general are also used a symbol for joy and sadness, with such powerful colors meaning and representing happy times.
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VINE VOICEon October 28, 2000
Hyman is a wonderful illustrator and her version of Sleeping Beauty is beautiful. It is one of the best versions since Edmund Dulac's classic illustrations. In fact, I don't have many favorite versions that have been published in the last fifty years. This is the version of Sleeping Beauty that I prefer to keep on my shelf for reading to children. The characters appear real and magical all at once. Hyman is a Caldecott award winning illustrator. This book is another example of why she is so honored.
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on February 19, 2013
Children's books have gotten larger over the years, so I was surprised to discover that this edition of Trina Schrt Hyman's "Sleeping Beauty" is only 8 x 10". A nice size, though. And the lush, lively illustrations fill the pages. Moreover, the text is beautifully integrated with the images, always appearing within an arched form, never obscuring or detracting from the pictures. It's quite a little masterpiece of layout. Sleeping Beauty is a redhead here, and exquisitely pretty. But the real delight is in the detailed depictions of the setting and of all the other figures in the drama: the otherworldly fairy women, the king and queen and their court, the servants, even the rather grisly scene of the less fortunate suitors who didn't make it through the thorn hedge--but something the Brothers Grimm tell us in their version.
Trina Schart Hyman's compositions are often cinematic in their point of view---she pulls you into the story. And of course, there are the landscapes, which are simply gorgeous, and exceptionally evocative. I'm happy to have this slightly worn edition that some library didn't think worth keeping on their shelves. The images are not worn at all, but fresh and exciting, confirming the gifts of one of out best illustrators.
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on April 24, 2004
This is a very traditional telling of the Sleeping Beauty story, based on the fairy tale originally written down by the Brothers Grimm. There is no real innovation where the plot is concerned. What makes the book special is its beautiful illustrations. Trina Schart Hyman is a talented artist, and her drawings are a treat to look at. Each page is very nicely laid out, with the text set within the pictures (as opposed to having the text on blank pages and the pictures opposite, as is common). My only reservation is that some of the illustrations are quite dark and oppressive, and may bother very young children. The one that is most disturbing is the picture showing the dead and decaying bodies of Princess Briar Rose's many failed suitors caught in the thorny brambles around the castle. So I'd advise caution with the extremely young, but the book would be great for slightly older children. It is suitable either to be read aloud, or for the kids to read themselves. All in all, a beautiful telling of this classic story.
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on August 15, 2004
I had never heard of Trina Schart Hyman, let alone seen any of her illustrations as a child. When I saw the cover of this book however I was just drawn right in, there was no resisting her spell. Based on the traditional Grimms telling of the fairy tale there's nothing new in the plot, the illustrations is what really makes this special though is the illustrations, they're a little dark, but you can tell hours of painstaking detail was put into each picture. So if for no other reason buy this for the illustrations and nothing else, I promise it'll elicit hours of enjoyment looking through each one and seeing a new detail every time you look at each picture.
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on October 8, 2009
Finally a satisfactory retelling of this classic fairytale!

This is a retelling of the Grimm's version of Sleeping Beauty, and of the Sleeping Beauty books I've read I must say that this was at once the most grim and the most merry.

It contains all the same warnings I've mentioned for other versions:
Dead hens being plucked, a scullery boy being pummeled, bathing women (mostly just bar bums-though, I'm pleased this version clears up the bit about the frog-the queen was bathing in a pond here, which makes way more sense!). And, particularly disturbing in this version, the image of the dead princes who try in vain to make their way through the thorns... it's really rather ghastly, and it's stated in the story that they died a lonely, terrible death (I'm still trying to figure out the moral on this one, since the final prince manages to have a wonderful life. Had there been more of a reason why he is the lucky prince - had he been pure of heart, exceptionally kind, unusually witty, *something* then okay. However, it appears he's just the prince that happens to be around after the 100 years. This said, I did feel that he had a bit more motive, having had dreams of Briar Rose reaching out to him. And at least he admits he'd risk death to see her... AND he shares his super with an old man, so that must gain him points, right? ;>)
But, for some reason, while this book is the most blatantly grim, it doesn't really feel that way, because it's tempered with such color and vividness and charm that it feels really quite light! All you have to do is look for that *adorable* little dog on so many of the pages and you'll start smiling instantly!

Some of my favorite bits dealt with Briar Rose. I was pleased to see she received commendable fairy gifts (wisdom, a pure heart, etc. in addition to beauty). But, I'd never heard the bit about her name, that because she grew up so good and kind, but also mischievous and clever, she earned the name Briar Rose. Neat!
I also liked the fact that the king really didn't want to invite the evil fairy. On the surface, he didn't invite her because he lacked a 13th gold plate, but it provided a good excuse. I also thought it was interesting the the final good fairy could only alter the evil fairy's curse because the king had caused offense to one of their own. Now, it's an interest twist to why the curse can only be altered, but it does seem a *tad* unfair to poor Rose who wasn't at fault at all.
Also, I was glad to see the king felt guilty, but also wondered how a parent could POSSIBLY FORGET that a curse of death hangs over their child!? I'm not a parent, but I find that VERY hard to believe!!!

Still, overall the story flows very nicely, and I loved the two bits towards the end (mainly because I've become to wonder why the kiss is so important as it always seems that Rose will wake simply because the 100 years have passed, but this version seems to rectify that): After the prince wakes Rose it states that just like a single drop of blood can make an entire kingdom fall asleep, so can a kiss awaken the kingdom. I was also pleased that, since the prince and Rose had spent so long waiting for happiness, they would live out the rest of their days in joy.

The illustrations are exceptionally beautiful! And I believe much of the enjoyment of *reading* this book is somehow owed to the illustrations. It would not be the same had they been illustrated differently (the prince's horse is simply enchanting!)

Definitely my favorite picture book retelling so far!! :)
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on December 22, 2001
As soon as you see the cover, you will know this is an edition of Sleeping Beauty that you will want. You actually feel the joy of the baby's christening, and the hurt and turmoil of the wicked fairy's curse. The scenes in this book are medeieval looking and it even shows some of the seasons that pass. This might not be the way that you see Sleeping Beauty often depicted. The princess, Briar Rose has long red hair and she wears a knife around her waist, in true medieval princess style. This is definetly a good change for the story. With it's expressive wording and beautiful, unique illustrations, you will want to check out her other books such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and some others!!!!
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on September 16, 2002
Trina Schart Hyman entranced me with her illustrations of Snow White when I was just a child. This book, with all its wonderful depictions, is equally as rich and magical. I have always loved the way her drawings looked and she was a direct inspiration for me to take up illustration when I got to college. I definitely reccomend it. It is a lovely, well-written tale and anyone, young or old, will love it.
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on April 15, 2009
For the most beautiful Sleeping Beauty in the world, inquire within. Trina Schart Hyman has mastered the beauty of light and dark in all its magical glory. This book is my favorite of hers and a favorite of my library.
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on June 29, 2011
I had this book as a child and I have always wanted one again and because of Amazon I now have one and with the cover too, I love it, I will cheerish it forever. Thank you!!!
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