cover image Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Margaret Early. ABRAMS, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3835-9

Exquisite illustrations shot through with gold accompany this latest retelling of Charles Perrault's well-loved tale. Highly detailed borders, intricate as lace, frame each page. The story unfolds, scene by scene, almost like a series of theater sets on which the curtain falls when the page is turned. In her artwork Early combines a lush fullness with a filigree-like delicacy to produce ephemeral, magical illustrations imbued with opulence. The effect is only slightly undercut by too-thin paper through which pictures and type bleed. The text, meanwhile, is pedestrian, despite a few attempts at humor (says Beauty when she is wakened: ``Is it you, my Prince? You have been a long time coming''; the prince takes care ``not to tell her that she was dressed just like his great-grandmother''). Luckily the story's romance remains, and the splendid artwork carries the day. Ages 5-up. (Dec.)