Beauty and the Beast

The Only One Who Didn't Run Away
2012. 288p. 978-0-54531-101-5. 16.99.
Gr 4-7–This installment in the series tells of Beauty, a plain girl whose life drastically changes after a fire destroys her father’s business, and Riley, a prince who would rather gaze at the stars than dance at lavish balls. When a mischievous witch turns Riley into a hideous beast and renders his family completely invisible, he must find a girl to love him before his time runs out. Told in alternating viewpoints, this is an appealing fairy-tale spin-off. The characters and dialogue emphasize the importance of family strength in times of adversity. Both Beauty’s and Riley’s families face serious problems, but they handle their issues with integrity, humor, and courage. At times, however, the dialogue doesn’t sound authentic and seems pieced together with little or no transition. Pacing is also a concern. The stories meander through lots of events before the two finally meet, but they all seem random and do little to enhance the plot. It isn’t until about 70 pages from the end that the traditional story begins, leaving some to wonder what took so long. Still, Mass and fairy-tale retellings are popular with tweens, and librarians looking for light, nonviolent retellings will find that Beauty fits the bill nicely.–Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX

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