Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen illustrated by Diane Stanley

About three weeks ago one class and I embarked on a journey towards the exploration of Sleeping Ugly.  Firstly we needed to talk about fairy tales - make lists of titles and characteristics.  Then we read one version of the original tale of Sleeping Beauty.  Next we watched a DVD of a storyteller retelling this famous tale using just his voice and facial expressions.  It was good to note some of the variations to the story such as the number of fairies who are invited to the famous christening.

Last week we read the first part of Sleeping Ugly and yesterday we predicted the ending, read the book right through to the end and then began work using a reader's theatre script of this funny and wise story.

"Princess Miserella was a beautiful princess if you counted her eyes and nose and mouth and all the way down to her toes.  But inside where it was hard to see she was the meanest, wickedest, and most worthless princess around."

One day Miserella becomes lost in the woods.  She meets a little old lady asleep under a tree. Miserella knows this lady is most probably a fairy in disguise. She kicks the old lady and demands to be taken home but instead the old lady takes Miserella to the home of Plain Jane.  Jane is kind and has very good manners so the fairy grants her three wishes.  Annoyingly for the reader Jane feels compelled to waste two of the wishes on the wretched Miserella.  Finally, as in the original version, everyone falls asleep until at the end of one hundred years Prince Jojo arrives.  "He saw three women asleep with spiderwebs holding them to the floor.  One of them was a beautiful princess.  Being the kind of young man who read fairy tales, Jojo knew just what to do."

I adore fractured fairy tales and this one, Sleeping Ugly, is one of my favourites.  We also have Sleeping Bobby in our library which is a fun reversal of the usual roles.  Our next book will be The Tough Princess which presents a very modern interpretation of living happily ever after.  You might like to read my post about other Princess stories and this review.

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