Beauty and the Beast by Jan Brett
Reading level: Ages 4-8
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.
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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)
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