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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast Mass Market Paperback – July 26, 2005

482 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin.

The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.

This was McKinley's first book, written almost 20 years ago. Since that time she has been awarded the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and has delighted her fans with another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fable, Rose Daughter. Still, McKinley's first novel has a special place in the hearts of her devoted readers, many of whom attest to relishing Beauty time and again. (Ages 11 to Adult) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A captivating novel." -- -- ALA Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 8 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060753102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060753108
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Smoker VINE VOICE on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book that I originally bought when it was packaged as an adult fantasy novel with a lovely Boris Vallejo cover. It has since been changed to a children's format and labeled ages 9-12 which is sad because I believe many adults who would love this story will overlook it due to its new age labels and format.
First, what this book is not--it is not a slam, bam action book or gigantic doorstopper epic.
What it is--a wonderful romantic retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. A widower has three daughters, Grace, Hope, and Honour. As a young child, Honour decides that her name is boring and states she would rather be Beauty, and the nickname stuck with her. Kindly Grace and Hope grow up into great beauties, but Beauty grows into a gawky ugly duckling, little concerned with her looks, but proud of her intelligence and way with horses. They all live happily in the city until disastor strikes and they lose almost all their possessions. They move to the country next to a mysterious old forest and as years pass become used to hard work and the peasant life. Beauty thrives, but still suffers from low self esteem. Then their father goes back to the city to check on one of his lost ships and when he returns, brings her a beautiful rose. You know the story--he met the Beast who demanded one of his daughters in exchange for the father's life, because he dare to pluck the rose.
Beauty volunteers to got to the Beast, taking only her warhorse turned plowhorse, Great Heart. She meets the Beast and encounters all the mysteries of his strange castle and invisible servants, some fearful and some wondrous. A sweet and charming romance ensues as the Beast asks her every night for her hand in marriage.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The best-known and best-loved of Robin McKinley's books is also one of the best of the fairy-tale retellings -- "Beauty," a more enlightened, fully-drawn version of "Beauty and the Beast." There's a depth and a richness to the story and characterizations, as well as a beauty of atmosphere and writing.

Beauty (real name is "Honour") is the ironically-named heroine of the story -- she isn't beautiful, but is very intelligent. She has two sisters, the beautiful Hope and Grace, and a benevolent, wealthy father. Then all their lives change suddenly: the ships their father owns are lost, and the money goes with them. One of the sisters marries a poor but worthy country lad, while the other lost her beloved fiancee who captained one of the ships. After selling their possessions the family moves to the countryside.

The father leaves on a trip -- and returns with a single rose, a gift for Beauty, which carries the price of either his life or his daughter. Beauty leaves to go live at the castle of the mysterious Beast, with only her plowhorse to accompany her. She arrives at a castle of invisible servants, magical books, friendly animals, and a melancholy Beast who asks her to marry him every evening...

There is nothing new in fairy tale retellings now, but when McKinley first wrote "Beauty," it was a relative rarity. And even now, few of them are as intelligently written and have such solid heroines. Rather than giving her story a contrived "twist," McKinley merely fleshes out the storyline and gives the characters personalities.

The writing is excellent; McKinley writes the more prosaic passages of cottage life and the surrounding friendly village, as well as the more dreamlike, fantastical scenes in the Beast's castle.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
What would happen if you took the flat fairytale of Beauty and the Beast, and fleshed it out into a three dimensional fantasy tale of a young girl who loves her father and her family enough to do anything to save them?
Beauty, by Robin McKinley is what you would get. Beauty�s life starts out wonderful enough, daughter of a well-to-do merchant and ship-owner, living in luxury with him and her two sisters, Hope and Grace. When her father�s entire fleet is lost, he makes plans to settle his debts and retire to the country with what little remained to him. Grace had lost her love Robbie on one of the ships, and Hope�s secret love Gervain, who was nothing more than an ironworker in Father�s shipyard, steps forward to tell of a place to be had for little money in his hometown of Blue Hill.
He offers to travel with them back to his hometown and set up a blacksmith�s shop with Father, and they all agree to do this. Blue Hill is a far cry from the city from where the girls came, and they struggle to fall into a routine of work that they are unaccustomed to. Beauty was the youngest, but also the strongest, and she was the one who took on the rougher, outdoor chores, leaving her sisters to care for the household. Life continues, Hope marries Gervain, who superstitiously warns everyone to never venture into the woods behind their cabin at any time.
Comes the day Father gets word of one of his ships coming in, returns to the city, and on his way back, of course, gets lost in the woods where he runs into the estates of the Beast. The fairytale bargain is struck, and Beauty agrees to take her father�s place at the Beast�s grand palace to keep him company.
McKinley tells a beautiful, fully fleshed out story here, far more than the fairy tale with loveable characters, believable events, comedy and tragedy and love. If you need a break from life for awhile, pick up Beauty and give it a whirl. Enjoy!
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