Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Book Review, Sunday, February 19, 2012: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

As Madame L promised Aunt Louise's readers on Friday, after seeing the Disney national touring musical of "Beauty and the Beast," she's been re-reading some other versions of the story.

One of Madame L's favorites remains the book by Robin McKinley: "Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast" (available new in paperback for $5.99 and used for as little as one red cent from

In this version, a wealthy merchant has three daughters, Grace, Hope, and Honour. Honour, the youngest, asked when she was a young girl to be called "Beauty," and the name stuck. 

So, those details are different. But once the father is trapped in the castle of the Beast, this detail is the same: Beauty begs and demands to be his replacement there. 

Madame L likes the fact that the bully-bad-guy-clownish-but-arrogant body-building lout, Gaston, is missing from this version. She understands the need for a character like him in a stage or screen version, but doesn't think he's necessary in the real story. (Madame L is a romantic, but she doesn't think a romantic story always has to have a loutish beau for the beautiful princess to reject before she finds the right guy, any more than this plot point is necessary in anyone's real romantic life.)

But mostly what Madame L likes about Robin McKinley's version is the beauty with which the story is told. Madame L recommends it highly for all her readers.

Bonus: While Madame L was researching the story online, she found this script for the Disney Broadway show.


LFP said...

Robin McKinely is one of my favorite authors. If you get a chance, check out "The Blue Sword" by her also.

Josie and Wayne said...

I love Robin McKinely too, and love this book. Another good retelling she did is Spindle's End, it's the retelling of Sleeping Beauty of course.