- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (August 27, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062004964
- ISBN-13: 978-0062004963
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,046,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sleeping Beauty's Daughters Hardcover – August 27, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7–This intricately plotted, appealing continuation of the classic tale combines magic, realism, and some modern attitudes. Queen Rosamond and her husband have lived with the terror of a curse put upon her as an infant and on her future firstborn child. The original curse foretold the queen's death at the age of 16, but Emmeline, her father's godmother, lessened it. Instead, Rosamond slept for a century after pricking her finger. The same curse is now on Princess Aurora, so her parents have sheltered their daughters from the outside world. Twelve-year-old Aurora is obedient and proper, whereas her younger sister, Luna, is far more curious and independent. The girls have no knowledge of the curse until Luna cuts her finger on a piece of glass. When the queen sees this she faints, and it is then that the girls must be told the truth. Though all sharp objects have been removed from the palace, a quill pen finds its way there in the bag of the girls' new tutor, and Aurora pricks her finger. Almost immediately sleepiness overwhelms her, and Luna devotes herself to keeping Aurora awake. Now they must survive horrendous obstacles as they search for Emmeline in the hope that she can undo or alter the curse. The girls are aided on their harrowing adventures by Symon, a young courageous fisherman, and eventually by their uncle, who has become a lutin, another creature with magical powers. Zahler's fans and those who enjoyed Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997) or Robin McKinley's Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978) will love this story.–Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Although Sleeping Beauty has awakened from her 100-year sleep and is happily married with two lovely daughters, she is still under the spell of the evil fairy Manon. The second part of Manon’s curse is that 12-year-old daughter Aurora will also prick her finger, thus falling into a sleep herself. More terrifying, however, is that she will awaken knowing no one—her family, friends, and servants all long dead. When Aurora and younger sister Luna learn of the curse, they run away in search of the good fairy Emmeline in hopes that she can reverse it. Their journey is fraught with peril—and just the slightest hint of romance—as Symon the fisherman steers them from one adventure to another in his rickety bateau. Zahler has written a fractured fairy tale, an extension of the traditional Perrault version. Fortunately, she retains the lush descriptions, the somewhat archaic language, and the hanging chapters that make all fairy tales such enjoyable read-alouds. Readers will identify with Luna’s spunkiness, Aurora’s fight to stay awake and alive, and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) lessons learned through each of the sisters’ trials. Grades 4-7. --Frances Bradburn
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After Luna accidentally cuts herself, giving their emotionally fragile mother quite a fright, they learn about their mother's history. She was cursed as a baby, and after being pricked on the finger, she fell into a deep, deep sleep that lasted one hundred years. Their father awakened her with a kiss, and when the evil fairy Manon discovered that they were living their happy ever after, she cursed them again. This time, it would be one of their daughters that would fall into a deep, deep slumber, only when she woke up, everyone she knew and loved would be dead and gone. That's really scary! It would terrify me to find myself completely alone, so I could easily imagine how terrifying that thought was to Luna and Aurora. When Aurora pricks her finger due to Luna's carelessness, it becomes a desperate race to find their fairy godmother before Aurora takes a really, really long nap.
As in every Diane Zahler book, the characters made the story for me. They are young and have little practical world experience, yet they rally together to accomplish great things. Luna is stubborn and bold, while Aurora is more timid and hesitant to face new challenges. Her idea of a good time, like mine, is curling up in the library with a good book. The curse and the threat of sleeping for a century get them both moving to find a cure, and with the help of an orphan fisherman, they head off into danger. Each adds strength to their group, and without all three working together, they would fail at their task. They all grow and gain confidence as they face one frightening challenge after another. They aren't content to just sit around and wait for an adult to solve their problems; nope, they dive right into action, determined to find a way to reverse the terrible curse that's been placed on Aurora.
The other thing I love about these books is that the girls don't take a backseat to the boys. They are every bit as brave, strong, and courageous as the guys. Probably more so, because the girls are the ones to get things moving in the first place. I like that they wait to be rescued; they take control of their own destiny and try to figure things out for themselves.
Sleeping Beauty's Daughters is very fast-paced, as the sisters race against time to save Aurora from her terrible fate. Along the way they learn to embrace both the good and bad in each other. They also make friendships that will last a lifetime, and face terrors beyond their imagining. Through all of their adventures, they discover a new appreciation for each other, and the courage to overcome any obstacle - together.
So...did I like it? You bet! 4.5 / 5 stars!
This is a book full of classical illusion and reference to history and mythology. There is plenty of material for educational discussion here. Relationships are a big theme here from parent-child, sister-sibling, family and even romance. Entertaining, educational and with a gorgeous cover. This is an excellent addition to the middle grades shelf. The character's definitely grow and mature in the book and your young reader can learn along with them.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
Diane Zahler's fairy tales are fun and sweet, but never oversweet. She balances out a lot of darkness with a few good, noble characters scattered here and there. I particularly liked Symon and his relationship with Aurora. Zahler often makes her early teen romances develop much too fast, but I thought these two were a cute couple and behaved the way 13-year-olds would with their first crushes. I also liked the Aurora-Luna dynamic: the sisters are very different but always love and protect each other. Sure, Aurora's a little prissy at the beginning, and Luna can be a bit of a brat, but it all evens out by the end.
However, other characters just weren't as strong. The villain had a good backstory but was ultimately disappointing when she appeared. Aside from being "contorted with hatred", she had little personality. Zahler's children rarely talk like children, and Aurora, Luna, and Symon were no exception. Luna particularly bothered me, since she was supposed to be nine and spoke like she was twice that (and a little melodramatic besides). And then there was Aurora and Luna's tutor, an interesting enough character that played a significant role in the beginning only to fade out of the picture after that. He could have been one of the best people in the whole book, but no. The poor man was reduced to a mere plot device.
Even so, "Sleeping Beauty's Daughters" is another beautiful Zahler read, clean of violence and swearing. I wonder what tale Zahler will retell next . . . maybe "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"? I'd like to read that tale, whatever it turns out to be.