This beloved old French fairy tale has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years. Beauty, as you may recall, is the youngest daughter of a devoted father who has fallen on hard times. Returning from a journey, he picks a rose for his daughter, enraging the owner of the rosebush, the fearsome boarlike Beast who inhabits a nearby castle. As payment for the rose, Beauty must leave her family and reside in the Beast's castle as his companion. She gradually comes to appreciate the Beast's kind nature, and, after leaving him to visit her family, realizes that she has fallen in love! Beauty willingly returns to her Beast, in time to break the spell that has caused his current, beastly countenance and restore him (and the servants in the castle) to their human forms.
Jan Brett--well-known for her artistry in Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Mitten--has worked her usual magic on this beautiful edition of Beauty and the Beast. In a unique visual spin on the story, the tapestries hung on the walls of the Beast's castle reveal the true identities of the animal servants who are under the same spell as the Beast--a subtle, fascinating feature that may not be noticed until the second or third reading. The story's old-fashioned and graceful language perfectly accompanies the French court setting. One of the finest takes on this classic tale, Brett's Beauty and the Beast is described by Kirkus Reviews as "a lovely, carefully made edition of an old favorite." (Ages 5 to 8)
From Publishers Weekly
A single peacock feather, its delicate beauty rendered in meticulous detail, sets the tone for this sumptuous retelling of a classic fairy tale. The story is a familiar one, with true love triumphing over a wicked enchantment in the end (the moral, of course, is "never judge a book by its cover"). But the central attraction is the illustrations. Brett's images glide by in a kaleidoscope of luminous color: iridescent blues and greens flow from page to page, entwined with the radiant shades of Beauty's own symbol, the rose. Brett, whose trademark is her careful detail, leaves hidden clues for sharp-eyed readers that hint at the Beast's secret--such as mottoed tapestries and glimpses of the meddlesome fairy herself, decked out naturally enough as a peacock butterfly. But it's the recurring motif of the peacock, itself a symbol of vanity and surface appearances, that ties the threads of the story together. It's a brilliant marriage of artwork and text; once again Brett proves herself a contemporary illustrator of consummate skill. Ages 6-12.
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