Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

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Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Beautiful and funny re-telling of the classic fairytale.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Orchard Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408312728

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We do love a good fairytale in our house. As soon as this one arrived it was snaffled by my daughter and she burrowed herself away on the sofa to read it quietly on her own. Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast. This version is reasonably traditional, with a few quirks of humour thrown in through the book.

Beauty has two sisters - not ugly, but certainly not very nice. What is it with sisters in fairytales? Anyway, their father is a rich merchant but, unfortunately, he one day loses his fortune. After leaving their lovely home and losing their fancy way of life the merchant one day learns that one of his ships has been found and is coming into port. The sisters are very excited about all the dresses and diamonds and jewels they can now have. When the merchant asks Beauty what she wants him to bring her back she just asks for a single rose. Good old Beauty. Of course, the ship ends up simply paying off his many debts and he sets off back home again empty handed.

On his way home he comes across an enchanted castle. He eats, sleeps and enjoys the delights of the castle without meeting anyone. On his way out he picks a rose from the garden and this is when the beast appears, incredibly angry and demanding that the merchant bring his daughter to the castle for him to eat as payback. Incidentally, there is no explanation as to why the beast is so very angry about a rose being picked from his garden. Having offered food and lodgings for free it seems a little odd that he should get so angry about a single rose! Still, let's not worry about that side of things...

Of course we know what happens, with Beauty coming to the castle and being wooed by the Beast, given everything she could desire and slowly, in time, falling in love with him although she doesn't realise it until one day when she leaves to go and visit her father. I won't spoil the happy ending for you, but you know it's coming I'm sure!

I liked the style in which the tale is told. It has enough of the traditional feel to be properly fairytale-ish, but there are small moments of humour too that are perhaps hidden in there for read-aloud parents or older children. I liked when Beauty goes home and her sisters see all her beautiful new dresses. They start to try them on but suddenly they magically turn into funny knickers and nothing else! I also liked the references to the sisters smelling of onions, since they've been rubbing themselves with onions in order to create fake tears over Beauty's departure! My daughter is seven and she managed to read it by herself without too much trouble. But it's a lovely story to share too, so it would work well being read aloud to older, patient toddlers right through to girls who are really a bit too big to be sitting on your knee but still like to snuggle for story time! I do think it's one for the girls. There is the beast, of course, that might draw in a few boys, but really it's all done in a very unashamedly girly way.

The artwork is lovely. There are some full colour pictures and others in silhouette. There's always something to see, lots of pretty dresses and a pretty fearsome-looking beast. The pictures really help the story flow along and give plenty of food to the imagination. A delightful story, certainly recommended.

We also enjoyed this fairytale Best-loved Classics: Rapunzel by Sarah Gibb

Buy Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb at

Buy Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb at


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