Sleeping Beauty's Daughters

224p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-200496-3.
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, NJ

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