Saturday, November 5, 2016

Snoring Beauty by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen -- OPTIONAL

Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta Snoring Beauty, illustrated by Jane Manning. PICTURE BOOK. HarperCollins, 2014. $17.99.

Mouse is trying to sleep before his wedding in the morning. There's just one problem: Sleeping Beauty's loud snores are ringing throughout the entire castle, shaking the stone walls and keeping everyone awake. When a prince comes to the castle, Mouse is full of hope. Will the visiting royal end the cursed snoring? Or will the prince run as soon as he hears Beauty's nighttime noises?

I love almost everything about this book. The illustrations are gorgeous -- colorful and filled with plenty of amusing details. The snoring sounds would be great fun to imitate in a read-aloud to a class, and would likely make many of the students giggle. The rhyming and rhythm work well, and the ending is cute, with a fun little twist of irony.

So why did I give this book an OPTIONAL rating? I have a serious problem with the idea that a woman who snores is not worth the effort of loving her -- as Prince Max himself says. ("'I like the crown, I like the throne, / I really like the castle.' / Max shook his head. / He shrugged and said, / 'The snoring's too much hassle.'") Sure, sleeping next to a snorer may not be easy, but do we really want to teach girls that one perfectly normal, common imperfection makes a woman so flawed that even Sleeping Beauty can't find love because of it?

Perhaps we can finally agree to stop requiring 100% perfection from girls. They are human, too, after all.

EL (K-3) -- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Sydney G., Elementary Library Media Specialist

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