Two New Beauty and the Beast Picture Books

beauty and the beast lee

Beauty and the Beast
H. Chuku Lee
illustrated by Pat Cummings
Amistad, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-688-14819-5
FORMAT: Fairy Tale
AGES: Elementary School

beauty and the beast jones

Beauty and the Beast
Ursula Jones
Pictures by Sarah Gibb
Albert Whitman & Company, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8075-0600-4
FORMAT: Fairy Tale
AGES: Elementary School

There were two new editions of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast that I came across a few weeks ago. These are both beautifully illustrated.

The H. Chuku Lee retelling is told in first person. Which makes Beauty’s feelings and fears up close and personal with the reader. But it is the illustrations that really steal the show in this edition. There are so many rich details on every spread. The fabrics, shapes, and faces all portray the feel of West Africa. And while he still looks like a monster to begin with, the Beast seems kinder and more human as readers progress through the story.

In the Ursula Jones retelling of Beauty and the Beast the story is in the traditional 3rd person. And although the illustrations still are of a European feel, they still have a unique feel thanks to the use of shadows and silhouettes. In fact, I found it very interesting as to which illustrations were completely silhouettes verses what illustrations were detailed or what illustrations were a combination of the two. And there are other fun details hidden within the illustrations (for example the addition of patches on the stuck-up sisters’ dresses once the family was poor).

All-in-all these are both fun new editions to a much beloved fairy tale. I suspect that many young readers will learn to love these stories as a good alternative to the altered Disney version.

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