Wendy Mass is super popular right now, which probably explains the recent reissue of this 2006 publication. It was a completely uninspired piece of fluff. The basic Sleeping Beauty tale begins without any major flourishes, she’s just an overprotected girl. There are some bizarre seemingly anachronistic touches (like a slumber party with makeovers), but nothing particularly special. As her tale unfolds, so does the tale of the prince that will become her rescuer. His mother is literally part ogre (perhaps trying to cash in on the Shrek frenzy that lasted throughout the first decade of the 2000s). Other than that, he’s a pretty milquetoast guy. The story is told alternating between the point of view of the princess and of her prince. I can’t commend it for being interesting or well written, but I do think it would play really well girls in grades 3-6 who enjoy their reading light and their plots without substance. I can’t offer any endorsements of Sleeping Beauty as a strong female character, but the Prince (who has lived his live without a name) does choose to call himself “Princess Rose’s husband” in the end. It’s a bizarre pseudo-feminist wrap up that to reinforced my feelings that the Prince was a dull, dull boy rather than wiped away Rose’s past ultra girly behavior.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – There’s a small amount of kissing. Girls think boys are cute. A girl might be in love with a boy. There’s a marriage at the end.
Profanity – “heck,”
Death, Violence and Gore – Someone is banged on the head. Rose’s parents die (in the 100 years she’s asleep). The prince’s mother, the ogre, eats people which makes it hard to keep a full staff of servants and also leads to literal skeletons in the closet. The forest includes animals that could eat you.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.