Sleeping Beauty meets a disgruntled Fairy Godmother

Pienkowski's Sleeping Beauty

Jan Pieńkowski, Sleeping Beauty, 2005, illustration from The Fairy Tales, National Children's Collection

Sleeping Beauty meets a disgruntled Fairy Godmother

This striking image is from The Fairy Tales, illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski and translated by David Walser (London: Puffin, 2005).

Early in his career, Polish-born English artist Pieńkowski was noted for his striking, boldly coloured and outlined illustrations for the Meg and Mog series, featuring a small witch and her vat familiar, and for his very modern pop-up books, including Haunted House (winner of the 1979 Kate Greenaway Medal), Robot, Dinner Time, and Good Night. In this book of fairy tales, his trademark bold colours form the background to some of the stylish, romantic and dramatic silhouettes, but most of the illustrations are black and white. This technique enables him to convey fairy-tale menace as well as comedy and beauty.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703) retold, in print, fairy stories he had heard, drawing details from a variety of versions to make them his own. His tales have been enjoyed by children and adults ever since.

Brothers Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) Grimm first published their collection of fairy tales in Berlin in 1812, with the first English language edition arriving in 1823. They claimed to present the stories as they had heard them told to them, but we now know that they did shape the stories and, like Perrault, sometimes incorporate details from a number of versions. Their work inspired serious collecting of folk and fairy tales in Britain and around the world and laid the foundations for the scientific study of folklore and folk literature. Since their first publication, these stories have attracted the leading illustrators of each generation to provide their own visual interpretations of at least the most popular tales.

This book is one of the many folk tale and fairy story books held in the National Children's Collection.

See The Fairy Tales in the collections

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa must be obtained before any reuse of this image

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Collection National Children’s Collection