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Snoring Beauty    by Bruce Hale & Howard Fine order for
Snoring Beauty
by Bruce Hale
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

I love to revisit old fairy tales, and ones with a twist are particularly fun to read. In an obvious retelling of Sleeping Beauty, narrated by a sarcastic green frog, we meet the highly comical Queen Esophagus and King Gluteus, who gave birth to a baby girl named Princess Drachmina Lofresca Malvolio Margarine (known as Marge).

As in the original fairy tale, one of the fairies is left out of the christening celebration, so she curses the princess: on her sixteenth birthday, 'she will be run over by a pie wagon and die!' The deaf fairy, aptly named Tintinnitus, modifies the curse, so that the princess will become a sleeping dragon and can only be awakened by a quince. Despite King Esophagus' safety measures, obviously the evil fairy succeeds in turning the princess into a dragon, one that snores unbelievably loudly. Because of the deafening snores, it benefits the whole town if just the right quince is found so that the princess/dragon will just shut up! As with all fairy tales, this one has a happy (and somewhat surprising) ending.

The story is quite readable and, from the opening lines - 'Long, long ago (about six hundred and two years ago last Friday, at 7:00 P.M., Fairy Standard Time, to be exact)' - is laden with laugh-out-loud humor. The book is great fun for both children and adults, particularly with the inclusion of some subtle adult humor. The illustrations are wildly exaggerated, yet somehow lifelike, and add a measure of delightful zaniness to the story. Pay particular attention to Fred (a fairy who really isn't a fairy, but no one has the heart to tell him).

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