Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beauty and the Beast Adapted by Louie Stowell, illustrated by Victor Tavares (Usborne Publishing)

Beauty and the Beast

Written by Louie Stowell

Illustrated by Victor Tavares

Published by Usborne Publishing

We've seen some fantastic versions of this traditional fairy tale popping up on the blog, but we spotted this in our local library and were instantly drawn in by Victor Tavares' darkly delicious take on the characters. The fact that one of our favourite people in the bookworld wrote this version of the story just added a nice big tasty cherry to the top of this brilliant story too. Louie was given free run at Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's dark and gothic tale, and retained the atmosphere of the original story, steering well away from the Disney path (hooray!)

Without a doubt you're probably familiar with the story of a noble trader taking refuge in a mysterious castle for the night, finding a sumptuous meal laid out and a warm bed to sleep in - but when the merchant steals a single rose from the garden for his daughter, a fearsome beast confronts him and offers him a choice between a grisly death or bringing his daughter to the beast's castle forthwith.

The merchant returns home to his daughter with a heavy heart, but before he can make the decision to return and put himself under the beast's sword, Beauty disappears in the middle of the night to the beast's castle to confront him.

The beast is a genial host and begins to slowly fall in love with beauty. For a time she shares his home, has access to his (truly wondrous and gorgeous) library and never wants for anything, except her freedom and news of her father.

Beast again and again asks Beauty to marry him, but she refuses. He is deeply in love with her, but she will not relent. Beast will grant her almost anything and allows her to visit her grief-stricken father - but only if she will return!

You probably know the rest. It's a fabulous tale and is given due honour and treatment here under the expert hands of Louie and Victor. Utterly sublime!

Charlotte's best bit: Beast's utterly amazing library

Daddy's Favourite bit: A superb and darkly rich version of this fairy tale classic

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