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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Beauty and the Beast

I know I have not been sharing my Monday Fairy Tales in Different Cultures. I was taking a little break since the truth is I was getting a little sick of Cinderella tales. However I discovered a wonderful version of Beauty and the Beast retold by H. Chuku Lee. The story is pretty much the classical story, however the pictures are beautiful! The illustrations are done with a West Africa influence. The illustrator is Pat Cummings.


The pictures like I said are amazing and it is nice to see a classic story set in a different place. I love that it is a multicultural book. Like in the classic story, Beauty is the youngest daughter and asks her father to bring her back a rose unlike her older sisters who have long wish lists. The father runs into trouble and then is out during a storm. He founds a palace to stay in with invisible staff. As he is leaving the next morning he notices the flower garden and picks a rose for Beauty. The Beast appears and threatens to kill him. He asks to say goodbye to his family before he is killed. The Beast allows this. Beauty insists on returning with her father since it was her rose that caused the problem. The Beast is willing to allow her father to live if Beauty stays in his palace. Beauty agrees to keep her father alive. Over time Beauty becomes to enjoy her dinners with the Beast. The Beast asks her several times to marry him and she always answers no. His servants give her anything she wants from beautiful dresses and jewels to basically whatever she desires as long as she stays. The Beast gives her a magic mirror that she can see what is happening at her home from the castle. One day she sees that her father is sick and she begs the Beast to let her go and see her father. He agrees as long as she returns in seven days. She promises. However while home with her sisters she decides to stay longer then worries that the Beast may be dying since he said this would happen if she did not return. She goes back to the castle and dresses for dinner, but the Beast does not show up for dinner. She runs to the garden to find him collapsed and dying. She tells him he has to live so she can marry him. With that declaration of love, the Beast turns into a handsome prince. Beauty and the Beast are married and her entire family moves into the palace.

The introduction to the book says Beauty and the Beast was first told in 1740 by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot Gallon de Villeneuve.