Beauty and the Beast

illus. by Meg Park. 40p. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423119814.
PreS-Gr 2—Rylant breaks away from the movie versions to deliver a less joyous retelling that is deeper in tone and closer to the classic fairy tale. There's no arrogant and funny Gaston, nor are there enchanted castle inhabitants. Instead, the narrative evolves between a frightening yet noble Beast and a brave and kind Beauty. Ultimately, the Beast is dying because Beauty declines his marriage proposal, and his curse is broken only when Beauty reciprocates his love. Rylant's narrative flows poetically and allows young readers to absorb vocabulary words that enrich the plot's structure. Primary grade readers will engage with the pleasing sounds of the text and will immerse themselves in the dreamy quality of the images, which are heightened by the illustrator's use of shades of magenta and violet. These visual elements interact with the curved line of the illustrations to enhance the meaning of the text.
VERDICT A poetic retelling that will melt readers's hearts, and a must for school and public libraries.

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