David Roberts’ Delightfully Different Fairy Tales illustrated by Lynn Roberts-Maloney

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales retell the stories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Cinderella in the most wonderfully original way. The stories take us back in time to different time periods during the twentieth century and introduce readers to fashions and styles intrinsic to the era. David Roberts’ illustrations are fabulously detailed and provide an amazing insight into life in three very distinctive eras.

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales are given new twists by changing the historical period that they are set in and this also adds elements of humour to the stories. We pored over the details in the illustrations which wonderfully recreate each era. We love the flying ducks in Aunt Edna’s flat and the 1930s kitchen in Cinderella.

We laughed at lots of the changes that have been made to the stories – Sleeping Beauty (Annabel) pricks her finger on the stylus of a record player which is mysteriously delivered on her birthday, Rapunzel becomes a wig maker and Cinderella (Greta) goes to the ball in a leek that was transformed into a limousine.


Greta lives with her shortsighted, forgetful father. After a business trip he brings his new wife and two stepdaughters to live with him and Greta. They excitedly prepare for the Prince’s ball while Greta is left with the housework. But a kindly woman appears and with the help of her magic Greta spends a wonderful evening dancing with Prince Roderick. Unfortunately in her haste to leave the party, Greta loses a slipper but Prince Roderick is determined to find the owner of the shoe…

Cinderella is set in the 1930s and it’s fascinating to see the characters dressed in Hollywood inspired fashions and feathers, even the kindly woman is wearing beads! We found the household equipment and kitchen utensils particularly interesting to look at – the vacuum cleaner, the mangle and the art deco crockery on the dresser. 


Rapunzel lives in a tower block with mean aunt Edna. The lift is broken so Aunt Edna uses Rapunzel’s plait to get in and out of the flat but Rapunzel is not allowed out. Schoolboy, Roger, notices dinner lady Edna climbing up the plait and when Edna goes out he tricks Rapunzel into letting him in. Rapunzel is astonished when Roger appears but they have a love of music in common and Roger starts to visit regularly. But when Aunt Edna finds out about the clandestine visits, she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair, banishes her from the tower and punishes Roger in a particularly nasty way. Will Rapunzel and Roger ever meet again?

The 1970s are brilliantly recreated in this story. Rapunzel listens to David Bowie on her record player and Roger wears flares and platform shoes (which stimulated lots of questions about seventies fashions and led to lots of laughing!) Roger rides a Chopper and his actions lead to Rapunzel making her escape from Aunt Edna. We love the illustration of Roger and his band, Roger and the Rascals, with their red hair – maybe wigs made by Rapunzel?

Sleeping Beauty

Annabel is unaware that at her first birthday party she was cursed by an evil witch called Morwenna. “Before her 16th birthday is over, she will prick her finger on a needle and die!” Aunt Flora changes the spell so that Annabel will sleep for a thousand years but she must be woken at exactly midnight on the last day or she will die. On her 16th birthday Annabel pricks her finger and falls asleep. Aunt Flora turns Aunt Rosalind into a huge rose tree that grows to protect Annabel then writes ‘Sleeping Beauty’s’ story before turning herself into a light to make sure that Annabel is never in darkness. 

Fast forward a thousand years and Zoe discovers the Sleeping Beauty book in the library and realises that today is the day that Annabel must be awoken…

Sleeping Beauty is set in the 1950s and Annabel’s aunts wear beautiful swing dresses and have their hair in 1950s waves. Annabel is fascinated by space, reads books about science and robots and dreams about how the world will look in the future. The future shows history buff Zoe zooming around the library on a hoverboard as robot librarians fill the shelves. And then the two girls’s worlds collide…

At the end of each story is a short paragraph from David Roberts who writes about what inspired each story, how he illustrated it and what he chose to include in the illustrations.

Not only are these stories highly entertaining but the illustrations give an amazing insight into the clothing, decor and trends of the different time periods. We love all three stories – our favourite is Rapunzel which is particularly amusing with its musical themes and unusual setting.

Author: Lynn Roberts-Maloney / Illustrator: David Roberts

Thank you to Pavilion Books for sending us a copy of these fabulous Delightfully Different Fairy Tales. We’d love to see more fairytales written in this way 🙂

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