Sleeping Beauty: A Mid-century Fairy Tale

Sleeping Beauty: A Mid-century Fairy Tale

By Author / Illustrator

David Roberts, Lynn Roberts



Age range(s)



Pavilion Books








Young Annabel lives in the 1950s and dreams of a future with jetpacks, flying cars and robots. However, little does she know that she is living under an evil spell that could mean she has no future at all...

When the curse is fulfilled on her 16th birthday and she falls asleep for 1000 years, her house is overgrown by a magnificent rose tree. A young explorer called Zoe discovers the story of Sleeping Beauty, but can she find Annabel in time to lift the curse and show her what the future actually looks like?




This new take on the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty is a refreshing and interesting story. Sticking with original story, a young baby is cursed by a wicked witch, that on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger and sleep for one thousand years. However the story is placed in a more modern setting of the 1950's and the 1000 years sleep takes us way into the future. In a twist the heroine is a young girl who discovers the story of sleeping beauty and sets out to find and rescue the young Annabel from her slumber. This story would be a great part of a variety of teaching approaches. Alternative versions of other traditional tales would be great to work alongside this book. Encouraging children to explore the unique settings of the tales and then considering how they might write their own versions. This would be a brilliant way to start conversations with children about the future and getting children to explore what the world that Annabel might be waking up to would look like. Alongside modern history projects, Britain since the 1950's etc... It would be a good way to look at what life was like for Annabel on her 16th birthday. All of the Roberts tales would work well with this type of history topic. I really enjoyed this story and will look forward to sharing it and other with the children in school. 32 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Suggested Reading Age 7+


Set in the 1950s, Annabel - lover of science fiction - is living under an evil spell. Cursed on her first birthday by a spiteful witch to prick her finger on a needle and die, Annabel lives with her two aunts, who have done their best to lessen the spell. Despite their care, she does prick her finger on her 16th birthday - will she be saved in time? This is a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty with an interesting twist. The needle Annabel pricks her finger on is that of a turn table; the rose bush is her aunt, Rosalind; she sleeps for a thousand years. Her saviour is a young girl called Zoe who uses the library to research the history of the giant rose tree. The illustrations in this book are wonderful. Colour is used to amazing effect as green washes those around Morwenna (the evil witch) as she curses the baby; rings of colour surround the baby as the years she'll be safe encircle her; the briars come alive from Rosalind's dress as she transforms to a rose tree, keeping her precious niece safe. Each picture contains details and clues, making them a delight to explore. Sleeping Beauty: A Mid-Century Fairy Tale offers a new look at one of our favourite tales, making it a great addition to school / class libraries as well as a lovely book for sharing. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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