Sleeping Beauty has to be one of those Fairy Stories that everyone knows in some shape or form. It’s been re-told in so many editions over the years and there have been film versions and even pantomimes of the tale too. What I wasn’t expecting though was a 1950s meets sci-fi version, but that’s exactly what you get with this new edition of Sleeping Beauty, re-told by David Roberts and Lynn Roberts-Maloney.
Annabel lives with her two aunts Rosalind and Flora in the 1950s. As a child she loves science fiction books and often dreams about what the future might look like. What Annabel doesn’t realise though is that she lives under a spell that was cast on her at her first birthday party by a spiteful witch neighbour called Morwenna. If Annabel pricks her finger on a needle before her 16th birthday she will die.
Luckily for Annabel though, Flora is a good kind witch and she manages to change Morwenna’s spell so that instead of dying Annabel will just sleep for 1000 years. The only problem with this changed spell is that she has to be woken at the stroke of midnight on the last day of the thousand years or else she would indeed die.
The aunts manage to keep Annabel safe until the day of her sixteenth birthday when unfortunately Morwenna makes sure that she pricks her finger and the though sand years of sleep start. It’s impossible for her aunts to look over her for that long though so they both come up with innovative ways to ensure that she is kept safe.
A thousand years in the future a young girl called Zoe manages to use a public library (which are thankfully still there and still appear to contain paper books in the 2950s – yippee!) to discover the story of Sleeping Beauty and she is just in time to wake Annabel up.
Annabel is somewhat amazed to find herself in the future that she had spent her childhood dreaming of and imagining. Her and Zoe then set out on the adventure of exploring what Annabel’s future looks like, a thousand years on from when she thought it would take place.
Despite there being plenty of children’s books out there that are set in fantasy lands, or that feature robots and space, Sleeping Beauty was I think the first one we’ve read that really fits into that sci-fi genre. It meant quite a bit of explaining to Little Miss C as to what science fiction is and I think the whole thing rather excited her. The book is packed with absolutely gorgeous illustrations that manage to capture both the 1950s style and what the 2950s might look like too.
LMC really enjoyed this version of Sleeping Beauty and to be honest I found it really refreshing to read a version that is different from the run of the mill ones I’ve read before. It turns out that Sleeping Beauty is the fourth fairy tale retelling that David and Lynn have worked on together – I’ll definitely be looking out for the others.
Sleeping Beauty is published by Pavilion Books in hardback on 11th August 2016 and costs £12.99. ISBN: 9781843652915
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Sleeping Beauty for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.