Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Fairytale, Danish Musical About Hans Andersen

From My Fairytale, Danish Musical About Hans Andersen, With Songs by Schwartz, Will Get U.S. Premiere in CA by Kenneth Jones:

PCPA Theaterfest on the central California coast, will present the American premiere of My Fairytale, a musical about Hans Christian Andersen — featuring music and lyrics by Broadway's Stephen Schwartz — in 2011.

The exclusive engagement will preview in the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria, CA, Aug. 12-19, 2011, and will then open under the stars in the Solvang Festival Theater in Solvang, CA, Aug. 26-Sept. 25, 2011. The run will coincide with the centennial celebration of Solvang as a Danish-American community.

And from the same article, a synopsis of the play:

"From the darkened stage of the Royal National Theater in 1846, Hans Christian Andersen is launched on an epic adventure through the timeless landscape of his own imagination. What he discovers there not only changes his life, but the world. His life's fairytale, illuminated by beauty and longing, was the genesis for some of the world's most beloved stories."
You can also read more about the muscial at Stephen Schwartz's website.  The musical premiered in Copenhagen in 2005 for Andersen's bicentennial celebration. 

And Solvang is an obvious choice for the show considering it's homage to Danish culture, including a small HCA museum which I have discussed before.

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge by Patricia Duncker

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge: A Novel

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge: A Novel by Patricia Duncker is released stateside in July but is already released in the UK--here's the link--where I found a review by Eilis O'Hannon explaining that:

References to Orpheus and Eurydice, Bluebeard's Castle, and many other myths, fairy tales and Bible stories, litter the book; images of entrapment trip over one another in giddy succession. Even the title of the book, while ultimately loaded with different layers of significance, sounds half-fabulous.

Well then, that means the book merits mention here on the SurLaLune blog. Although the regular description wouldn't have ever made it into my search results.

Book description from publisher:

The bodies are discovered on New Year's Day, sixteen dead in the freshly fallen snow. The adults lie stiff in a semicircle; the children, in pajamas and overcoats, are curled at their feet.

When he hears the news, Commissaire André Schweigen knows who to call: Dominique Carpentier, the Judge, also known as the "sect hunter." Carpentier sweeps into the investigation in thick glasses and red gloves, and together the Commissaire and the Judge begin searching for clues in a nearby chalet. Among the decorations and unwrapped presents of a seemingly ordinary holiday, they find a leather-bound book, filled with mysterious code, containing maps of the stars. The book of the Faith leads them to the Composer, Friedrich Grosz, who is connected in some way to every one of the dead. Following his trail, Carpentier, Schweigen, and the Judge's assistant, Gaëlle, are drawn into a world of complex family ties, seductive music, and ancient cosmic beliefs.

Hurtling breathlessly through the vineyards of Southern France to the gabled houses of Lübeck, Germany, through cathedrals, opera houses, museums, and the cobbled streets of an Alpine village, this ferocious new novel is a metaphysical mystery of astonishing verve and power.

I have to admit despite fairly warm reviews, mass suicides, cults and conspiracy theories are not in my usual reading interests. I'll probably give this one a pass myself, but I wanted those of you who would find this interesting to know about it...  It does sound intriguing...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

TN Renaissance Faire and Uncommon Adornments

So last Saturday, after a very stressful month, John and I went to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival.  It was my third time in the past six years and it has only gotten better over time.  I consider it one of the best in the country out of pride of having a castle on the grounds and knowing that it really is spectacular.  Doesn't hurt that most of it is in the trees, keeping me out of direct sunlight most of the time.  I thought this was the best year yet although it might have helped that we also had some enthusiastic friends along to enjoy it with us. 

My shopping heart was also satisfied to discover the Uncommon Adornments booth.  I have bought from them several times over the years after receiving my first pendant by them--Celtic Creature--as a gift from a friend in California who found them at the Ren Faire there. 

I'm always very reluctant to buy much faerie related stuff since it is more readily available and I don't want a deluge of gifts from loved ones buying faerie for me--because, hey! it's faerie--cluttering my life to be too honest.  I am very picky and can count my faerie items on one hand--not including books of course.  I have a Puck who watches me cook from atop the cabinets in my kitchen with a Faerie Crossing garden stone hanging on the wall.  I have a stained glass faerie hanging in my office window made by a local artisan.  I also have a little silver faerie I found at Portobello Rd Market who sits on my computer monitor and a pendant I found in Segovia, Spain.  Yes, exotic locations make the items more special especially since I am picky about souvenirs these days, too.  The same restrictions go for dragons, too. 

This year I noticed the faerie at the Uncommon Adornments booth and had to have her.  I have the one pictured at the top of this blog entry but with a peridot stone instead.  I don't know exactly why she appealed to me so much right away--perhaps because her stance reminds me of my beloved Winged Victory.*   To be blunt, it also helps that she is modest.  I live in the South and I work with kids.  It's just easier to avoid the lesser dressed faeries as a whole.

Needless to say, I also enjoyed some dragons, especially the sleeping one above.  I walked away with a few new items but with a wishlist, too.  I am now the owner of the dragon above wrapped around a mother of pearl.  Yes, you can often choose from several different stones when there is a stone in the design.

Anyway, you can order from Uncommon Adornments online if they aren't appearing at a Ren Faire near you.  For once, the pictures don't do the jewelry justice overall.  These are blown up and show every flaw which isn't visible when you see them in person.  The designs are unique and appeal to me.  The Tree of Life just above reminds me of the Arthur Rackham illustration for The Old Woman in the Wood I have used for the blog's banner this year.  Completely different stories, since the Greenman is the character in the pendant, but I am partially a dryad at heart and love my trees.

This is the last weekend for the faire here in TN.  I do highly recommend it although I'm late for this year.  I enjoyed walking around, seeing the costumes and all sorts of people walking around enjoying the food, shows, games and shops.  John managed a bullseye in archery and ax throwing.  This time I considered how fairs and festivals are traditions that are centuries old in cultures around the world.  I also love seeing the children looking and wondering and learning.  Yes, much of it is anachronistic (Ye Olde Sheldon and Big Bang Theory references come to mind) but it is fun and brings past times closer to our minds today.  Never a bad thing.

Finally, although I've been picturing pendants and didn't take pictures of the faire itself or any of the costumes--I'm horrible at picture taking, preferring to experience without the distraction--I must share a picture of Castle Gwynn by Lynn Roebuck.  Yep, our Ren Faire has a castle!  Click on the image to see a bigger version.

Finally, I am not associated with Uncommon Adornments, but am simply a consumer past, present and future as well as a fan.  The women working the booths are always wonderful and the jewelry is high quality in a great price range.  They also offer information sheets about the different symbols and meanings of the pendants when you approach the booth, but not in a pushy way.  I was actually happy at just how unpushy everyone was at the Faire.  We spent a lot of time looking at swords and the artisans and apprentices were enthusiastic in educating us because they loved their work.  I am rather shocked John didn't leave with a sword, but value his self-restraint.

* There are some popular things of which I am an unabashed fan despite their almost cliche status. Winged Victory and the Unicorn Tapestries are on the short list. I originally approached both not expecting to be emotionally engaged, but I am every time I see them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jack the Giant Killer Postponed

From Slashfilm at Aaron Johnson and Andrew Garfield Meet For Jack the Giant Killer, Production Pushed Back to 2011:

While no one has been officially cast as the young farmer Jack in Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer, a few actors have been name-checked as having meetings for the role, including Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus/Social Network star Andrew Garfield.

The film, which was originally scheduled to begin shooting this Summer in England, has now been been pushed back to February 2011, in an effort to give Singer more time to better figure out the visual effects. According to HeatVision, Singer will use a process that will supposedly allow him to see the giants in-camera as the actors play opposite them.

I'm just impressed the movie is still moving forward. I'm rather fascinated a more obscure tale--relatively speaking--is getting big Hollywood treatment. And it sounds like interesting technology they are trying to incorporate. Although I admit, I rather hope it isn't 3D. It just gives me a headache.

Russian Ice Stars: Snow White on Ice

Snow White on Ice and it's not even Disney.  I've had this one keep popping up in my browser all week, debating whether to post it and every time I see it, I wish I could SEE it.  I mean it's Snow White on Ice and it's NOT Disney on Ice.  Read this description from The Evening Times in Scotland:

Romance, treachery and skating skills were the order of the day at the Theatre Royal as The Russian Ice Stars kicked off their five-day Glasgow stint of Snow White on Ice.

The show runs for the next four nights at the Hope Street theatre, which has been transformed to accommodate industrial pool liners and some four tons of ice.

Irina Tkachuk and Valdis Mintals play the starring roles of Snow White and her prince in this take on the classic fairy tale, The show, which combines ballet, gymnastics, aerial aerobatics and ice-skating is billed as a real family event for adults and children alike.

How much fun would that be? And we all know that I am not even a big Snow White fan although I have been becoming more so over the past year with all of my reading and research of the tale.  And really, it's ballet, gymnastics, aerial aerobatics and ice-skating, a smorgasbord of stuff to love.  Performed by Russians.  And not as strange as Cirque du Soleil at its best, I imagine.

Alas, it is in Glasgow right now and probably elsewhere in the UK, not anywhere near me.  And then I had to go hunting for an official website since this is Russian and obviously touring. is fun with even video bits which just tortured me more.  Don't miss the images either, which I couldn't capture with my software in the state it is right now.  I am still in that annoying state of figuring out new computer settings and capabilities and inabilities, but they are much better than the news photo I provided above.

The site also lists several tour dates around the UK.  Look it up and have fun if you see it.  I wish I could tag along... 

Hugo Nominee: Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages

Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages

Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages is on the short list of nominees for the Hugo for Best Graphic Story this year.  All week, Brit Mandelo has been reviewing the nominees on  Today she wrote about Fables and admitted it's also her pick for the winner.  You can read her full article at Best Graphic Story Nominee #5: Fables—The Dark Ages but I'll share some highlights here:

The fifth and final nominee this year is Fables: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham and a bevy of artists. (Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred and David Hahn, for the curious.) The Dark Ages is the twelfth trade collection of Fables. I take back what I said about Captain Britain and MI13: Vampire State having the highest entry bar—that goes to Fables. There’s more or less no way at all to start reading the series here and know what’s going on. In fact, I think it would be some kind of travesty to start here, like skipping to page three hundred or, hell, the last chapter of a book before you read the rest. The good news is, Fables is easy to find in bookstores around the country, not just comic shops, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough, so there’s still time to catch up before the voting.

Fables and its creator(s) have a fantastic awards record so far. It’s won a total of twelve Eisner Awards, some for story and some for art. The Eisners are the big-deal award for comics, sort of like the Hugos and/or Nebulas are for SFF. It was also a Best Graphic Story nominee last year for the eleventh volume, War and Pieces.

I think sums up the entire series best with:

I suppose I could try to make an argument similar to the one I made with Girl Genius—that this isn’t a big plot-solver volume—but I think what it does do is much more important than that. Fables is all about retelling and reinventing stories, tales, and tropes. That’s what it does. So, for it to continue and in fact gain momentum after the point in the story where most fairytales end… That’s significant. It’s doing its thematic work with strong hands, right there, reinventing the idea of the fairytale again and again by showing what happens behind the scenes. It’s the difference between happily-ever-after (which never really happens), and having to face the consequences of every action.

So congrats to the Fables team. When the series first started, I never imagined it would become the hit with fans and critics that it now is. But Willingham et all understand the darker potentials of fairy tales and have explored them well and appealed to a large audience.  I'm always thrilled when that happens...

The Hugo Awards winners will be announced at Aussiecon 4 on 2-6 September 2010.  If you are interested in reading many of the entries, Books on the Knob has an explanation of how to receive the packet for voting at Hugo Awards Packet. She explains the system well, here is an excerpt:

This year, the Hugo Awards are doing things a little differently. Rather than a physical packet of reading material, they are releasing the entire list electronically to members, including supporting members who are not able to attend the conference in Australia. What that means is that for $50US or $70AUD, you can get copies of six novels, six novellas, six novelettes, five short stories, four graphic stories (plus a couple to read online only), and a number of related works, fanzines and other writing excerpts in various categories, all of which were considered to be prize-worthy examples by the awards committee. I found a password on one PDF (and, yes, most of the packet is in PDF form, although there are a few with multiple formats and I saw at least one PRC/Mobi file on a quick look-thru), so that one will be a PC only read, rather than moving to my Kindle and there are a few that include links to online only reads (a few graphic/comics sites are online only publications, for example), but otherwise they should work well on an ereader.

If you don't want to join, a number of the short stories, novelettes, novellas and graphic stories are available online to read, for the duration of the voting period (yes, you are expected to vote, but there is little to stop you from skipping this part), which ends 31 July 2010 23:59 PDT. You can sign up online, HERE, but you will have a decision to make: let them process the charges in Australian dollars, which will mean possibly paying a small exchange fee to your bank or credit card company, and a total based on the current exchange rate (when I checked, it worked out to around $65US; PayPal tells you how much before you complete the transaction), OR you can use their manual registration and payment option via PayPal and pay a flat $50US (directions are on the registration page). If a bargain price is your main consideration, the latter is the way to go. However, you'll want to add to your PayPal message that you wish to get all your material via email, or they will send you everything via snail mail - adding at least a week to get anything, here in the States. In addition, rather than the automated system set up to issue registration info (which you need to download the books), your registration is handled manually, by a group of volunteers; even with several emails to them to check on status, mine took three weeks to complete and get my password via email. With only two months left in the voting period, that would not leave much time to read the entries if I chose that method today.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Okay, so I debated this one all day on Thursday, all about splitting hairs and such.  Apparently there is a movemet to make May into Short Story Month, something I didn't know about until this late in the month, and darn, because I would have totally run with it if I had known earlier. 

I learned this when my news search sent me to In Other Words, a blog on The Globe and Mail, which has been providing links to short stories all month long.  Well, Thursday's honored author was Angela Carter and the link provided in the article was to the full text of her classic, The Bloody Chamber, online.  (My own link is an Amazon link, by the way.) The text for the book is hosted on Angelfire and it is obviously a copyright infringement stateside.  It is also apparently a long existing file with no other identifying marks on it.  Why it hasn't been removed, I don't know. 

Anyway, due to the obvious copyright infringement, I will not link directly to the text from this blog.  You choose what to do when you click through to the short article about Carter.  I encourage you to buy the book.  I couldn't resist linking to the article and blog since I loved that Carter was recognized along with several other luminaries for the month, from Lovecraft to O'Conner to Carver.  Great stuff.  Great links.  And here's the little bit about Carter:
The re-imagined fairy tale went from being a small genre of the 1970s to a full-blown writing language that had an immense impact on postmodern fiction. Years before all that, there was the late Angela Carter and The Bloody Chamber, which, as well as being a feminist reading of fairy tales, is also full-blooded storytelling. Many have since tried this model but few have had Carter’s teeth, which were as sharp as her critical eye.
Finally, here's a link to The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter as well as a cover image on Amazon.   

The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Hare's Bride by Emily Carroll

I always love when illustrators choose a more obscure fairy tale to illustrate and then share with us.  The internet makes so much more accessible, especially the obscure tales.  Especially when they do it so well that I am prompted to go reread the tale myself.  Emily Carroll, aka sockefeller on LiveJournal, posted her wonderful interpretation of The Hare's Bride from the Grimms.

It doesn't matter which you do first, read the tale or look at the illustrations, because you will want to do the other after doing one.  Never fear, the tale is a short one, only a few paragraphs and will only take about two minutes to read.  But don't miss the illustrations!

And, yes, if you read the brief notes for the tale, it is loosely related to Fitcher's Bird which is itself a Bluebeard variant.

This was another reader contribution, this time from Shannon. Thanks for sharing, Shannon! My spam filter sent the email to my spam folder but fortunately I caught it. Needless to say, my spam filter doesn't like fairy tales and their nonsensical bits very often for all too much ends up there...  But Viagara emails sometimes don't end up there despite my every wish that they would.

Sleeping on Bedtime Stories

I never shared one of my other favorite birthday presents received this year.  A dear friend sent me a pillowcase from this sheet set on Pottery Barn Kids.  I finally got it washed and on my extra pillow this past week and I love it. 

No, it's not directly fairy tale related, but animals reading books are rather magical for me, very fairy tale-ish.  Now I am in love with a pillowcase.  It doesn't hurt that it is high quality cotton with a sewn in pouch that keeps the pillow inside despite all of the abuse I give pillows while reading and sleeping.  When I possess them, they get squashed and plumped rather ruthlessly, poor things.

These are a seasonal, limited edition print available at Pottery Barn Kids and selling out now on clearance.  There is a boys' version and a girls' version.  There are also duvet sets where the pictures came from to give a better image.  The links will work only as long as they are still in stock, I guess.  I am not affiliated with Pottery Barn in any way.  I'm just posting as a fan. 

And what I love most?  All of the animals aren't cats.  On the rare occasion that books show up on pajamas or other novelty items, cats are inevitably included.  Hey, I firmly believe other animals read, not just cats.  ;)  And when they read, they read fairy tales, of course.

And while we're here, there is also a toile design on clearance with children reading on them.  And there are Superman, Star Wars and Dr Seuss sets.  And some of the most beautiful florals I've seen in bedding in a while.  I'm glad they don't come in king size or I would be in trouble.  I get to make do with window shopping or succumbing to a few pillowcases.  I loved my own Bambi sheets when I was kid, but I would have adored these even more.  Well, not the Seuss.  Those would have given me nightmares.

Thanks, Val.  It was a great birthday gift.  Little did you--or I--know!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grandmother's footsteps by Germaine Greer

Oh, you generous readers. Reader Sarah sent me a link to an article I missed in The Guardian that appeared several days ago, Grandmother's footsteps by Germaine Greer.

In short, it is a wonderful article about Old Wives' Tales and the history of storytelling, focusing on the Italian history, especially with Straparola and Basile. Of course, the French salons and the Grimms are discussed in brief, too.

Here's an excerpt:

What I was doing was as old as the human race, and women have always done it. Even the most refined aristocrat of antiquity would have been told nursery stories by his first attendants, who were illiterate slaves and peasants. When it came to building a fanciful narrative of his own, he would recycle the same elements, changing them fundamentally in the process. The idiom of the original tale had to be standardised, and the events reinterpreted, to make the kind of sense that educated people would recognise, even to the point of ironic subversion of the fantastical elements in the story. Illiterate women went on providing the staple of the repertoire at the same time as educated people were turning their own variants of the tales into literature. As long as neither the women nor the children they told their tales to could read, the two kinds of tale-telling could flourish side by side.

The first collector of popular tales for print is known to us now as Gianfrancesco Straparola, who was connected with the Venetian publisher Comin de Trino. As "Stra-parola" means something like "crazy talk", we may be sure that this was not the real name of the author of the Piacevoli Notti (1550–1556). Following the convention established by Boccaccio's Decamerone (1353), the Straparola tales are set in a framing narrative, a 13-day party at the palace of the Bishop of Lodi on the island of Murano during carnevale; the narrators are 13 ladies. Two of the tales are recounted in dialect, one in Bergamasco and another in Paduan. The Straparola stories are pretty good examples of the kinds of stories old peasant women tell. The fashionable lady who tells the five stories on the second night pretends that the second of her tales is set in Bohemia, but it soon becomes clear that we are dealing with a story about the people living on the shores of the lagoon.

As always the article is much longer and merits a click and read through. It is full of history as well as a personal anecdote by Greer as the introduction.

In her email, Sarah said "It made me wonder if perhaps she's thinking about a book-length work on the subject." After reading the article, I hope Greer is considering a project related to the topic.

But if she doesn't, as always, one of the best books along similar lines is From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers by Marina Warner. I also recommend The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm (Norton Critical Editions) edited by Jack Zipes as a supplement.

The illustration is by H. J. Ford for Andrew Lang's The Arabian Nights' Entertainments (1898).

Catching up....

I just wanted to give a big thank you to the readers who email me links and all of you who stop by and read, sometimes leaving comments. I know there are many of you who don't comment but I see your visits and appreciate that we share a little tiny bit of the world for a few moments most days.

May has been rather crazy here in Nashville with the floods as well as my own personal disasters, such as plumbing and ceiling repairs and a computer that required replacing. I could write an entire entry on my adventures with computers this month and what I have learned. I'm a PC girl although we are a dual platform family so I can work well enough with both. I am a computer geek but not enough of one to mess with Linux and others. I got a Windows 7 machine which has been my easiest transition ever to a new computer--and so far the commercials are right, Windows 7 is one of the best Windows operating systems to date even if I have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft. (I'm equal opportunity and have one with Apple, too.) Mind you, it's still man made technology which means its far from perfect but it is an improvement over previous versions. However, it is still relatively new so the adding on of peripherals has been touch and go--my printer adapted fine but my scanner, external hard drive and Kindle not so much. I'm working on those solutions with a powered USB hub and other tips from generous communities on the internet.

I also must recommend the easy transfer cable for moving everything from an old computer to a new one. My old one lived just long enough to get everything transferred although it took multiple times as long due to the nature of the old computer's problems. Still, I moved right into my same old bookmarks and settings even if I am still working on software installations slowly but surely as time permits.  This cable was a blessing and made the transition so much easier than any computer change I have made previously.

I was fortunate and didn't lose anything from my computer although it was a near miss on a few days worth of files--I back up regularly--but I am finally going to use an online backup system, probably Mozy which appears to best suit my needs after much research. After my experiences and what I have witnessed, I can encourage all of you to backup regularly. Most of the houses in Nashville that were flooded were not in the flood plains and this was a completely unexpected natural disaster with little more warning than an earthquake. My home and neighborhood was spared but thousands were not. Back up your stuff! Preferably away from your home and workplace. External hard drives are nice, but they still usually reside near your computers and are just as susceptible to loss, especially in a natural disaster. I have an archivist's heart and have been trained in disaster preparation and recovery. I am devastated by how much was lost in a few short hours which could have been avoided with a little work. Don't let it happen to you!

New Book: The Sisters Grimm Book Eight: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley

The Sisters Grimm: Book Eight: The Inside Story (Sisters Grimm, The)

The Sisters Grimm: Book Eight: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley was another fairy tale title released in May.  As you can see from the title, this is the eighth title in the series.  Now I am feeling old because I remember this one starting several years into SurLaLune's existence.  I'm just happy a great concept and series is going strong and is now a regular May event for fans.

Book description from the publisher:
After the shocking ending of The Everafter War, this book picks up with Sabrina, Daphne, and Puck stuck in the Book of Everafter, where all the fairy tales are stored and enchanted characters can change their destinies. The girls (and Puck) must chase the Master through a series of stories, where they’re willing to change what they need in order to save their baby brother. Soon, however, they are confronted by the Editor—the book’s guardian—who, along with an army of tiny monsters known as Revisers, threatens the children with dire consequences if they don’t stick to the stories. As they chase their quarry and dodge the Revisers, they meet Alice, Mowgli, Jack the Giant Killer, Hansel and Gretel, the Headless Horseman, and more. But will they find their brother in time?

This series isn't as often reviewed by the trade publications, but the reader reviews are overall enthusiastic. It is also currently 45% off list at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I love that these books are published in hardcover first but at reasonable prices. They remind me of how special I felt with hardcover Nancy Drews as a child. Hardcover books always felt more important to me. I was very disappointed when the series moved into paperback, right in the middle of my Nancy Drew reading years.

If you aren't familiar with the series, you should be. I've found both children and their grownups enjoy these. Here's a book trailer for the series to explain more:

If you are a fan of the series, you should also visit The Sisters Grimm site. I also have a full list of titles and links available on SurLaLune.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goldilocks and Hanover Floors Commercial

And here's a bonus commercial using Goldilocks for Hanover Floors.

I like that they broke the rule of three, mostly because I didn't expect it.

Goldilocks and Bell True Fit Commercial

Alicia, a SurLaLune reader, shared this commercial with me today. It's for Bell True Fit bicycle helmets. It's a clever usage of the concept and so I had to share here. I admit that these advertising posts are some of my favorites...

And so here it is:

Thanks, Alicia! I had never heard of this one and for a rarity its even for a product I find useful and needful for children, too.

New Book: The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker

The Wide-Awake Princess

The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker was released earlier this month, which has actually been a relatively full month for fairy tale related releases. 

Book description from the publisher:

In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

E. D. Baker is the author of The Tales of the Frog Princess series, including The Frog Princess, which was in part the inspiration for the December 2009 Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog." Baker is also the author of Wings: A Fairy Tale. She lives with her family and many pets in Maryland.
I found one review from Kirkus Reviews:

A clever twist on a selection of fairy tales from "Sleeping Beauty" to "Rapunzel" shines a realistic light on these classics, questioning whether magic is always a good thing. Princess Annabelle's older sister, Gwendolyn, is given the magical gift of beauty while Annie has been made impervious to magic of all kinds, a gift that proves to be quite valuable in the end, though Annie can't help but feel like the plain little sister next to Gwennie's overwhelming beauty. When the classic "sleeping beauty" curse is cast on Gwennie, Annie, along with Liam, a footman and friend, sets out on a journey into the forest to find the prince that will save the day. Not only does the spirited Annie save her family, she winds up discovering herself along the way. Baker's characters are intriguing, easy to relate to and entirely three-dimensional. While the plot may seem hectic at times, in the end readers will find that each character and plot twist has a purpose. The author ably joins the practitioners of the contemporary fairy tale, suggesting that those fairy tales and their happily-ever-afters are not always better than reality.
You can read the prologue to the book on Baker's website, too.

I like the slightly different twist on Sleeping Beauty described here.  This one is a young adult book, too, so it should be safe for most readers.