Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales


Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales

Angela Carter, translation

Michael Foreman, illustrations

Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1982

128 pp. – 12 stories

Age: 7 +

Interests: fairy tales, adventure, magic, princesses, princes, castles, ogres

Enter with caution! Not for your youngest listeners, unless they’re relatively immune to blood and gore. This collection revisits the earliest written versions of these tales, first put to paper in the 17th and 18th centuries by Charles Perrault and Madame Leprince de Beaumont. In her adherence to these sources, Angela Carter serves up stories which are familiar yet unexpected. Red Riding Hood is not rescued from the wolf’s belly. After Sleeping Beauty is woken by her prince, they both must endure a bloodcurdling ogrish epilogue.  And the lesser-known stories also carry surprises – in Donkey Skin a beautiful princess must flee when her own father wants to marry her.

Of course, any time you see Bluebeard in the table of contents, you should probably think twice about reading the book to the very young. (Includes a forbidden room filled with gruesomely slaughtered corpses of his past wives.)

That said, these are the original tales which have captivated and gripped centuries of listeners and readers, so at the right age they have great powers of enchantment. Perrault’s morals at the end of each of his tales add a touch of cynicism which lighten the mood, though I found them a little jarring.

The watercolour illustrations by Michael Foreman (War Boy) are fantastic: modern, stylized, evocative, and suitably ghoulish when called for.


The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood
Little Red Riding Hood
Puss in Boots
The Foolish Wishes
Beauty and the Beast
The Fairies
Hop o’ my Thumb
Ricky with the Tuft
Cinderella: or, The Little Glass Slipper

(This title available via


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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