Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood - Charles Perrault Review Series #1

The Tales Of Mother Goose - Charles Perrault, D.J. Munro, Gustave Doré, Charles Welsh

Welcome to the first part of the Charles Perrault Review Series.

An eight-part serialised set of reviews of the famous fairy tales by the seventeenth-century French author.


Perrault (1628-1703) originally published his eight stories in his Histoires ou contes du temps passé, aved des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose). The edition I read I found online and has illustrations by the famous artist Gustave Doré (see links below). Each week I will upload a review of one of his tales.



Reclining upon a bed was a princess of radiant beauty

All these tales are more graphic than their later adaptations by, for example, the Brothers Grimm, and the majority is, therefore, not suitable for (young) children. For tales that contain vivid descriptions of murder or other forms of (serial) killings, I have made an appropriate note at the beginning of the review and have aimed to provide a censured, child-friendly alternative.


I have given this book 3.5 stars because it contains five famous fairy-tales combined with some lesser known works, which are still good.


I. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

The second part of this fairy tale is not suitable for children.


Like many, I am very familiar with adaptations of this story. The versions which end with the marriage between the la belle and the Prince. This is the version you'll find in children's books and, of course, the Disney film.


Imagine my surprise when the story carried on to include Ogreish cannibalistic inclinations directed towards toddlers and Sleeping Beauty herself. (Aurora is, in fact, not the name of Sleeping Beauty but that of her daughter.)


Perrault’s version is a two part fairytale, whereas the Brothers Grimm split it into two separate stories – though some scholars believe they were always separate – Briar Rose and The Evil Mother-in-Law. An earlier version, pre-dating Perrault’s, Giambattista Basile’s Sun, Moon, and Talia (in his 1634 Il Pentamerone: The Tale of Tales) also includes the cannibalistic features and some other adult content. I would therefore say that if you want to read Perrault's version to your children, I would end with the arrival of the Prince (which is generally considered the end of the first part).



Charles Perrault Review Series



Details & Where to Buy


This work is in the public domain and can be read and downloaded for free to read online or on your e-reader or Kindle at Project Gutenberg.


First published:


Original title:

La Belle au bois dormant


Charles Perrault


Online at Classics Illustrated




17 - 30 May 2013







Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Book Depository USA

Book Depository UK

Abebooks USA

Abebooks UK


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