We all know that fathers can be a little over protective as far as their daughters are concerned but the king in this story really does take it too far. He refuses to sleep for even one moment until he finds the perfect prince to marry his beautiful daughter. Unfortunately, none of them are perfect and, as he never sleeps, none of them can get near her. If only he would just fall asleep. It's obviously time for a cunning plan...
Many years ago, in a palace far across the sea, there lived a king, a queen and, of course, a beautiful princess.
In fact the princess is so beautiful and the king loves her so much that he resolves to watch over her every single day and night until he is able to find her the perfect suitor. In true traditional tale style, princes travel from far and wide to try and win the hand of the princess and, more importantly, the approval of the king. Unfortunately, even though there are all sorts of princes - tall, short, strong, weak, blond, bald and so on - not one is good enough for the king's much loved daughter.
The princes realise that if they are able to make the king fall asleep, they will be able to talk to the princess and hopefully she will fall in love with one of them. Therefore they try many tricks to make the king sleep but he is too clever to be fooled. However, while this is going on, a young farmer watches and comes up with a plan of his own that involves at least one hundred sheep as well as a few other animals. All he needs to do is to find a way to get the king to count them all!
This is an entertaining story that I am sure will appeal to many young children. In many ways, it has the feel of a traditional tale but it also has a twist which is quite appealing. It is quite a simple tale which is livened up by the entertaining and funny illustrations that accompany it. My daughter particularly likes the pages that show the motley assortment of princes that line up to persuade the king of their suitability and enjoys spotting all the different ones. I like the page with all the sheep and I'm sure that there must be some truth that counting sheep does help you sleep, as I don't seem to be able to read that page without yawning!
It's a book that is both ideal for sharing, especially at bedtime to encourage sleepyheads, and also for newly confident readers to have a go on their own. There's lots of humour to enjoy and, like so many traditional tales, a happy ending to look forward to. Overall, it's an extremely appealing book.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk