cover image Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Anne Carter. Random House Value Publishing, $12.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-517-56173-7

This is a stellar version of the old story, newly alive in both the telling and in the hauntingly atmospheric pictures. Beauty, of course, is the good daughter of a man whose wealth is sunk with the ships that are carrying it. Beauty's sisters are jealous of her, but her father and three brothers genuinely care for her. When her father tries to recover his wealth, he ends up at a castle where he is treated royally. Just as he cuts a rose from a bush to take home to Beauty, the Beast appears, demanding that one of the man's daughters be brought there to die. Beauty chooses to go, while her sisters cut onions to look as if they're mourning her loss. At the Beast's castle, Beauty is given every comfort, and through the conversations she has with her host each night, sees Beast's good heart and agrees to marry him. In the end, he is transformed into a handsome prince. The characters are fleshed out and so well drawn that the love Beauty has for Beast is entirely believable. The Beast is both dreadful and human. Each page carries either a full page painting or tiny, exquisite insets. (7-10)