Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

by Max Eilenberg, Angela Barrett
     
 
Exquisite paintings and a lush retelling bring a treasured classic to new life.

A beautiful daughter dreams of meeting a handsome prince, but in order to save her father's life, she leaves home to live with a terrible, frightening beast. Though her patron is hideous, his disarming generosity slowly leads to a surprising connection. Accessibly and with great

Overview

Exquisite paintings and a lush retelling bring a treasured classic to new life.

A beautiful daughter dreams of meeting a handsome prince, but in order to save her father's life, she leaves home to live with a terrible, frightening beast. Though her patron is hideous, his disarming generosity slowly leads to a surprising connection. Accessibly and with great compassion, Max Eilenberg sheds fresh light on one of our most beloved fairy tales. Angela Barrett's enchanting illustrations illuminate both the sumptuous palace and the horrifying beast himself. The resulting tour de force reminds us that ultimately love conquers all.

Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
…superb retelling …Giving the 18th-century French tale a 19th-century setting, Eilenberg plays up both its comic strain and its emotional intensity.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In this new version of the classic, florid prose threatens to overpower Barrett's delicate watercolors. Eilenberg (Squeak's Good Idea) follows the lines of the 18th-century original, jazzing up the story with a pompous Briton for Beauty's father, Mr. Fortune ("Fortune by name, fortune by nature," is a favorite saying of his), two cruel sisters named Hermione and Gertrude, and plenty of velvety vocabulary ("red roses of the most exquisite loveliness and perfection"). Yet the magic of the retelling belongs to Barrett (Joan of Arc). Although often relegated to the borders of the page to make way for the lengthy text, each of the artist's vignettes offers viewers a small assortment of delicacies, like a box of petit fours, as Beauty whiles away her days in a succession of beautifully appointed rooms, or wanders through gardens of fantastic topiary. Beast's overpowering stature conveys his threat; but his sleek, graceful appearance never becomes repulsive. While the purple prose may embarrass youngsters ("She had found love and lost it, and it was so much more than she had ever imagined, and the pain was unbearable"), Barrett tempers the passion of the lovers' final kiss with a bored housecat cleaning itself at their feet. Writer and artist are both at their best in the luxury of the Beast's palace. Collectors of sumptuous fairy tale editions will not want to miss this one. Ages 6-10. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
This is not just a book for children but a work of art that can be enjoyed by all ages. In retelling the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast, Eilenberg manages to avoid the treacle put forth by the Disney Corporation. The Beast is lonely and sad but not abusive, seeking only to find companionship; he does not force himself on Beauty. When asked, he releases her back to her father, asking only that she return to him of her own free will. Beauty recognizes the goodness in the Beast, but cannot bring herself to admit that she loves him until she almost loses him. Each page is illustrated in lush watercolors. Barrett's use of color and light reflect the mood evoked by the text and add to the understanding of the story. Several versions of this story are available; being more than a simple retelling, this version adds to the story, making it a welcome addition.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Nineteenth-century period details, lively dialogue that is well suited to reading aloud, and sly humor distinguish this retelling. The basic plot is familiar, yet slight changes in details and dialogue deftly customize the tone. The father is portrayed as a doting parent whose flattering introductions to his daughters are provided in staccato. "Absolutely lovely, smashing girl, mad about clothes," and amusingly countered by the author's, "Now you might consider that Gertrude in fact looked a little spoiled and not very grateful-." Even Beauty is a little vain; when she first touches the beast, she is "amazed to see how pale and delicate her hand looked against" its fur. Barrett's lovely watercolor illustrations vary in size and shape and the effective use of light and shadow communicates the shifting moods. The haunting landscapes and stark interiors contrast with sunlit, outdoor scenes presented in charming little vignettes. A poignant spread shows Beauty weeping over her Beast. There are many delightful versions of this complex story, and each has its own charm. Certainly, Marianna Mayer's Beauty and the Beast (S & S, 1987) set a high standard. Libraries that feature variants of folklore stories will want this vibrant edition.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Barrett's finely wrought paintings create an appropriately dreamy, romantic atmosphere for this formal retelling of the classic tale. Eilenberg adds details, but keeps all of the essentials. Suddenly ruined, merchant Ernest Fortune and his beloved daughters Gertrude, Hermione and Beauty repair to unhappy poverty in a country cabin. But then, Beauty, who dreams of being swept off her feet by a handsome prince, offers herself in place of her father to the hideous, tortured Beast, and-though the spoiled older sisters suddenly disappear from the story at the end-all turns out splendidly. Using a subdued palette that opens in shadow but bursts into brighter hues at the climax, Barrett uses dress and details to give the story a late-19th-century setting, faces off a fair-skinned, chestnut-haired teenager with a forthright gaze against a towering, hunched, vulpine Beast and artfully fills in between dramatic full-bleed scenes with vignettes and sequential panels. As emotionally intense but not quite so dark as Nancy Willard's rendition, illustrated by Barry Moser (1992), this version will draw a profound response from its customary pubescent audiences. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844287208
Publisher:
Gardners Books
Publication date:
12/04/2006

Meet the Author

Max Eilenberg is the author of SQUEAK'S GOOD IDEA, illustrated by Patrick Benson, and COWBOY KID, illustrated by Sue Heap. He lives in London.

Angela Barrett is the illustrator of many picture books, including JOAN OF ARC by Josephine Poole, THE HIDDEN HOUSE by Martin Waddell, and THROUGH THE TEMPESTS DARK AND WILD: A STORY OF MARY SHELLEY, CREATOR OF FRANKENSTEIN by Sharon Darrow. She lives in London.

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