Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sleeping Ugly” as Want to Read:
Sleeping Ugly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sleeping Ugly

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  836 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
A clever twist on Sleeping Beauty for emergent readers.

Princess Miserella is very beautiful outside, but inside she's the meanest, wickedest princess around. Plain Jane, on the other hand, has a face to match her name but a sweet and loving nature that earns her three wishes from a fairy. Miserella's horrible manners make the fairy so angry that her magic throws them all i
Paperback, 64 pages
Published April 14th 1997 by Puffin Books (first published August 7th 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sleeping Ugly, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sleeping Ugly

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Although this is a book for younger children which uses fairly simple language, it still has some clever things going on. It points out that just because a princess is beautiful doesn't mean she can't be a spoiled brat. And just because someone named Jane is Plain doesn't mean she can't have all kinds of good qualities. (Is it a coincidence that the latter has the same name as the author? Hmmm....) This little story adroitly combines motifs from various fairy tales in a humorous way to make youn ...more
Jane Yolen rocks! Jane Yolen Rocks! Jane Yolen rocks!

Nice companion to her Cinderella. Disney should make this into a movie and do it right.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sleeping Ugly is a quirky take on the traditional Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Retold by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Diane Stanley, Sleeping Ugly takes the perceptions of inner and outer beauty and warps them to create a dynamic fairy tale transformation. The story begins with a seemingly beautiful princess; Miserella was physically stunning from her nose down to her toes. However, this beauty was only skin deep. This beautiful princess would cause terror ranging from stepping on puppies to lying ...more
Oct 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was an interesting take on the traditional "sleeping princess tale" I liked how the pretty girl was ugly on the inside and the "ugly" ('plain' girl) was beautiful on the inside. However, I would have liked to see, instead of labeling the girl in this story as ugly to rather explore the beauty in her traditionally "not pretty" features. Similarly I don't like the message that "Plain Jane" can't bag a guy who has riches and jewels, that the prince that is obtainable is the one who is dirt poo ...more
Sam Grace
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beginning readers, fairy tale lovers,
The last page:

Let sleeping princesses lie
or lying princesses sleep,
whichever seems wisest."

This is an excellent beginning reader book. The illustrations are totally secondary, but Yolen is great. I like how she handled the description of Plain Jane: "Her hair was short and turned down. Her nose was long and turned up. And even if they had been the other way 'round she would not have been a great beauty." That is, not any one feature or other makes you plain, but being plain is not a big
Brandon Desiderio
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book meant the world to me when I was growing up - in kindergarten at the time I discovered it at a school book fair (which were always my favorite events). Definitely need to read more Yolen, now, as an adult!
Mar 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
I suppose that this was supposed to be a variation on the Sleeping Beauty story, but I definitely prefer Disney's version. The book has a portrait orientation, which is normal for a fairy tale book, as they tell stories of people (generally. The version I had came from the library, so I don't know if it was a “library version,” or if all publications of this book were like this, but the end papers were white, which surprised me. Maybe this color of end paper was intended to add to the moral of n ...more
Ally Lybbert
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eled-340
Picture Book, Folktale- fairy tale retelling
I really want this to read aloud and talk about with students.
I think it would be an awesome conversation starter about manners and how to treat others with respect.
The illustrations are a little out of date
Tessa Hensley
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This story is amazing, this is the first time I have heard the telling of a fairy tale backwards but it was awesome, and so much more meaningful. The princess "sleeping beauty" in this story was beautiful but mean, she even kicked dogs. Her horse gets her lost and she ends up with a fairy and an ugly but sweet girl. The fairy puts them all to sleep and a prince comes and kisses the ugly girl instead, so the mean princess stays asleep forever.

I love that they took a fairy tale and told it from a
Jennifer Weiss
Oct 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
I am personally a huge fan of the Disney fairy tales so this was a different rendition of the story. It was a unique twist to the story, instead of the Princess waking up at the end of the story from a kiss by a Prince, the Prince decides not to wake to Princess. In this version of the story, the Princess is very rude and selfish and beautiful. She uses her beauty to get what ever she wants and she is very rude to others who are less fortunate in looks. When she comes in contact with Plain Jane, ...more
Herbie Behm
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sleeping ugly is a fractured version of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. In this version there are 2 princesses. The first is very beautiful on the outside but very ugly on the inside while the second is the opposite, she is very plain on the outside while she is beautiful on the inside. The illustrations of this book were very good and symmetrical to the story book. The lesson that this book reveals to it’s readers was a very good one. It shows that beauty is only skin deep and that look ...more
Nicole Dylewicz
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sleeping Ugly was a good book to read. I was surprised when I read this because I never heard of it before and the cover of the book was the complete opposite from the original book. The main character Jane was not pretty. She had a big nose that was noticeable. The text of this book was age appropriate and I would recommend young children to read this. The pages went from black and white to color. I am sure sure why the author had chose to do this but it made the book that more interesting. Chi ...more
Becky B
A story that's a mixture of two fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty and Diamonds and Toads. There's a beautiful princess who is not a nice person and an ugly maiden who is very nice. When the two get mixed up with a fairy, the ugly girl is nice, the mean princess is mean, and they all accidentally get put to sleep for a hundred years. When a prince comes along, he understands how these kinds of spells work but he decides to practice kissing on the fairy and the ugly maiden before going for the princess ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it liked it
For a parody that is based off a classical story, comes an important moral: don't judge a book by its cover. Sleeping Ugly revolves around 2 girls: A beautiful one with a heart of stone and a plain-looking one with a heart of gold. At the end, the prince ends up marrying plain Jane. The story illustrates how inner beauty is so much more important than outer beauty. I believe that this is very crucial for girls these days to realize that. However, I disliked the part about the magical wish and ce ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kids 6-10
This modern fairy tale, intended to remind readers of Sleeping beauty and Cinderella in antithesis, is fun to read and has a moral to share along with it’s humor. Plain Jane is a poor orphan and ugly to look at, but beautiful inside, where it counts. Princess Miserella is beautiful in every way on the exterior, but has no beauty inside. Miserella is as unkind and selfish as Jane is kind and selfless. A chance meeting with a fairy changes the fate of both. With the touch of her magic wand the fai ...more
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Princess Miserella is a beautiful princess on the outside, but has a wicked personality. When beautiful Princess Miserella, Plain Jane, and a fairy fall under a sleeping spell, a prince undoes the spell in a surprising way.
Genre: Fairy Tale
Audience: K-6
Reading Level: Intermediate Readers
Curricular Uses: Read-Aloud, Independent Reading
Theme: Beauty comes from within.
Literary Aspects: Humor, dialogue
Additional Comments: Very humorous book that puts a spin on traditional fairy tales abou
Zackery Busse
Apr 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Sleeping ugly is a funny spin off of sleeping beauty. It doesn't quite have the same fairy tale feel to it and it doesn't have the same type of Disney princess ending to it. The illustrations are a bit odd to me because everyother page the illustrator chose to portray with only black and white ink while the others were full color. The drawings were also kind of dull and boring and rather small for the most part with a lot of white space filling the pages. The narrative is interesting as well bec ...more
Juliana Duarte
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought the Story Sleeping Ugly was an okay book. It is a twist from the story sleeping beauty where the character is beautiful inside and out and ends up being a princess and living happily ever after. In Sleeping Ugly there is a girl who is beautiful on the outside and ugly, mean and wicked on the inside where there is also a girl who isn't the most beautiful on the outside but has a heart of gold on the inside. This is a good book for children to not judge a book by its cover. Just because ...more
Stephanie Allred
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A spin off of the classic "Sleeping Beauty" fairy-tale, "Sleeping Ugly," written by Jane Yolen, is a witty little fairy-tale, but plainly written and plainly put together. From looking at the cover to flipping through the illustrations, there is nothing more than just plainly drawn illustrations. Perhaps this ties in with the idea of the story being about Plain Jane. The text is also very simple, but very easy to read. The text is quite crucial to add more details to the illustrations, and the i ...more
Megan Drees
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen is a twisted version of the classic Sleeping Beauty. The author portrays the beautiful princess as an ugly person inside while providing a juxtaposed character of average looks and beautiful personality. The reader expects the beautiful princess to fall in love; however, it is Plain Jane that becomes loved by the prince. As in all classic fairy tales, a magical fairy is to blame for this unexpected outcome. The ending provides a very comical twist that surprises the r ...more
Lisa Schwartz
Sleeping Ugly is about a really pretty princess who is pretty on the outside, but on the inside she is the ugliest, meanest wickedest princess. Plain Jane is the opposite- ugly on the outside, but really nice on the inside. I like this book because it has adventure and excitement, and there was a nice twist to it. Though the princess' every movement is lovely, Jane's kindness and good-natured behavior win the love of the prince. Morals in society are so often skewed, but Yolan's funny story real ...more
Jenna White
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was okay. It taught a good moral and very closely resembled the story of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. However, I thought it was different how the Prince moves on from kissing one girl to another. I don't know how appropriate that would be for a classroom of young students. Additonally, the ending didn't make sense about how they let the mean princess keep sleeping; if they were truly nice, they would have woken her up as well. On another note, I liked the illustrations. They were in b ...more
Kendall Kraiss
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
This book had good and bad qualities and lessons behind it. First off, I like that it was not are typical prince and princess story. I also liked that it can teach the reader that beauty is only skin deep and that being pretty or plain on the outside does not mean that you are that way on the inside. However, I absolutely hate the word UGLY! It is a terrible word and I really do not like that one princess is beautiful while the other is ugly. Girls especially use that word too much and it's not ...more
This is a clever little retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story for beginning readers. The princess, though pretty, is a rude, mean terror. She finds Plain Jane's house in the woods with a fairy, and eventually all three of them wind up asleep for 100 years until Prince Jojo rescues two of them, the fairy and Jane, and leaves the Miserella to be used as a coat rack. On one level, it really is funny. On another, I'm not terribly happy about Jane being described as ugly. I get where Yolen is going ...more
Luz Herrera
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very interesting! I thought it was going to tell the story in somebody's else perspective but it was just totally different. Miseralla is rude and not nice at all and plain jane is nice. there weren't any rude sisters or anything there were only three characters. But i loved then end because plain jane is the one who got the boy in the end and she didn't even mean to do it. She was saying it unconsciously to herself and the fairytale godmother overheard and gave her the w ...more
Nicolas Robles
I think this story would be fun for kids in probably 1st or 2nd grade to read. If they are familiar with the story of Cinderella it will make it a lot more interesting and fun to read. The names of the characters are funny; Miserella and Plain Jane. It loosely follows the story of Cinderella but is a story all it's own. Plain Jane was very sweet and let miserella have everything while she in turn was pushed around. By being sweet and nice though she got her wish and was able to live happily ever ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A princess, Miserella, who is very beautiful, on the outside, but very ugly on the inside, goes riding in the woods one day, gets lost, meets a fairy who she bad mouths. They get to Plain Jane's house where the princess continue to be exceedingly mean to the fairy which so enrages the fairy that she accidently puts all three of them to sleep for a hundred years. A youngest son of a youngest son of a prince wakes the fairy and Plain Jane, but not Miserella. The fairy, the prince, and Plain Jane a ...more
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a Lexa review, who ran downstairs and wanted to share her favorite parts of the story, which happened to be the whole thing.
I was digging the story, very much approved the "moral of the story"..
Yolen had me until suddenly we got to one of the princesses' wishes. She used a wish to MAKE the prince love her. NOOOOO! Yolen, you had me until that point...but I won't make this an angry diatribe. This will remain my 7 year old's review, in purest form, removed of my peculiar bias that girls b
Brittany Chalupa
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a story about a girl who is rather plain and kind of ugly, but has a heart of gold. Basically the moral of the story is that its not what is in the outside that matters but what is on the inside. I liked this book because it turns all the other fairy tales around by making the main character ugly instead of beautiful. This book educates children about not judging people by their appearance which every child needs to learn as fast as possibly because children can be very blunt and ma ...more
Linda Lipko
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thus far, of all the books I've read by Yolen, I'm not disappointed. This is a quick, lively banter- filled tale of the beautiful princess Miserella who remains beautiful despite the ugliness inside, a magical fairy, and a not-to beautiful Plain Jane who has a loving nature, but a very plain countenance.

When Miseralla's terrible ugly actions upset the fairy, mistakenly the three are all thrown into a deep, deep sleep. Along comes a handsome prince who must choose to kiss the right lady.

The illus
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Princess Furball
  • Cinder-Elly
  • Cinder Edna
  • Waking Beauty
  • The Korean Cinderella
  • The Enchanted Wood
  • Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter
  • The Mysterious Tadpole
  • Rubia and the Three Osos
  • Snoring Beauty
  • Once Upon a Time, the End (Asleep in 60 Seconds)
  • An Undone Fairy Tale
  • Cinderella Skeleton
  • Goldilocks Returns
  • Something Beautiful
  • Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale
  • Beware Of The Storybook Wolves
  • The Names Upon The Harp: Irish Myth And Legend
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »