Little Daylight

by George MacDonald
Adapted by Erick Ingraham

ISBN 0-688-06300-4 (Trade edition)
ISBN 0-688-06301-2 (Library edition)

1988 Published by William Morrow and Company, New York

Little Daylight was chosen by American Bookseller as one of their "Pick of the Lists" for Fall 1988


Little Daylight is blessed, upon her birth, by seven fairies but cursed to live her days in darkness, by a wicked swamp-fairy whom the king and queen neglected to invite to the christening, and whose curse is to remain until the princess is kissed by a prince.
[Cover flap copy]
When little Daylight was born, there was great jubilation in the palace, for this was the queen's first baby. But when seven fairies came to bestow their remarkable gifts on the child, the king and queen never thought of inviting the old hag who lived in the swampy part of the forest. This vengeful fairy casts a terrible spell -- little Daylight will sleep during the day and awake only at night, and her beauty will wax and wane with the cycles of the moon, until a prince comes who will kiss her without knowing who she is. George MacDonald's romantic fairy story has entertained children and adults for more than a century. Now, an award-winning artist has created an unforgettable picture book that grows lovelier with each viewing. Truly, this is a visual feast to be treasured by readers of any age and by lovers of beautiful books.


"Cursed by a wicked fairy at her christening, Princess Daylight sleeps through each day, waking only at night. Her strength, youth and beauty wax and wane with the moon. When she is almost 17, a prince sees her dancing in a bright, moonlit glade and falls in love with her. A fortnight later, he stumbles over an old hag lying in the forest, too weak to stir. Not recognizing Daylight, but moved by pity, he kisses her and breaks the spell. While the tale was recently well illustrated by Dorothy Duntze, Ingraham's rendition has much to recommend it. First, the text is closer to the MacDonald original; though a little longer than the other version, its graceful prose is certainly within the reach of most readers. Second, the illustrations are not only beautifully executed full-color paintings, rich with depth, darkness and mystery, they are also realistic enough to depict the princess and prince as 16-year-olds. Daylight leaps across the jacket illustration like a modern dancer. Though as fully illustrated as a picture book, this is one fairy tale which, on looks alone, a romantically inclined 13-year-old could feel comfortable checking out of the library. A most appealing interpretation of MacDonald's lovely tale."

Publishers Weekly 7/88
"Like Sleeping Beauty, the princess in MacDonald's tale is cursed at her christening by a jealous fairy. Little Daylight can awaken only at night, and her beauty must wax and wane with the moon until "a prince comes who shall kiss her without knowing it." A young prince glimpses the beribboned princess dancing in the moonlight and falls in love, but when he next finds her, there is no moon and the princess looks as "wrinkled and drawn" as a withered old woman. The prince, thinking the woman is dying, kisses her and the spell is broken: Little Daylight's face shines "as bright as the never-aging dawn" Ingraham's paintings are meticulously rendered. He combines the luminosity of Renaissance portraits with an almost photographic detail, creating a fairy tale world of moonlit beauty."--

University of Chicago Graduate Library School10/88
"Although the picture book format of this edition of MacDonald's romantic fairy tale seems inappropriate for the reader whose skills can make the vocabulary and sometimes-dense writing style comprehensible, the illustrations are in themselves handsome as well as appropriate for the mood of the story. Hand-brushed acrylics against an air-brushed background achieve soft, flowing lines; the paintings are effectively composed, and the artist has been wilt in using warm or cool colors to help tell the story of the princess who, cursed at birth by a malevolent fairy is brought to normal life and to happiness (by the kiss of a prince, naturally) after years of sleeping by day and changing with the waxing and waning of the moon."

"MacDonald's elegant reworking of "The Sleeping Beauty," first published as a chapter of At the Back of the North Wind, appeared in a truncated, completely retold version in Gennady Spirin's The Enchanter's Spell. With vastly more respect for the original, Ingraham has abridged the story; virtually all the language here is MacDonald's, with enough of the leisurely Victorian elaboration deleted to reduce it to roughly half its original length; the result retains much of MacDonald's flavor and reads well.
Ingraham's illustrations ("airbrushed backgrounds with handbrushed acrylics in a tempera style"), which took the artist six years to complete, must have been a labor of love, and- like Don Wood's paintings for King Bidgood's in the Bathtub--demonstrate considerable care and skill, with vivid faces full of character, attention to detail, and some extraordinary, almost cinematic, effects with back-lighting, mist and moon;light. Some of these are lovely., and are sure to have a broad appeal, although at times the contrast between the techniques-- and with superimposed text--is jarring. Still, the art is of considerable interest, and its drama should draw readers to the worthy text.

THE PRESS, Atlantic City, NJ 4/89 
"The classic tale is illustrated anew in a style both fairy-tale-romantic and realistic. Depth of color, grace of the figures in their flowing robes, details as minute as wisps of hair and tendrils of grass, distinguish the paintings.
The story, beautifully written, has all the qualities that entrance youngsters and ensure that fairy tales remain integral to childhood literature."--Sheila Weinstein