The Wide-Awake Princess
By E.D. Baker
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2010. 261 pp. Juvenile chapter book.
In this story based on the tale of Sleeping Beauty, Princess Gwendolyn has been cursed to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and sleep for 100 years till kissed by her true love. Her sister, Princess Annabelle, however, was given a much different fairy blessing at birth--she was given the unusual gift of being immune to all magic. When Gwendolyn does indeed fall into a magical sleep, along with the entire castle, Annie is the only one who remains standing. It is up to her to find Gwendolyn's true love and to end the curse, and she bravely sets out on her own to do just that.
This fractured fairy tale was a delight to read. Fast-paced, funny, and well told, there were fun little twists at every turn. Baker is a great storyteller and keeps the language simple and accessible for her audience. I loved the inclusion of many well known fairy tale snippets peppered throughout the story and I found the characters excellently drawn, particularly the heroine, Princess Annie. She's a wonderful model of a girl--imperfect but brave, loyal, honest, and true to herself. A riot of fun, this is a book that's sure to be a hit with any fairytale fans!