November 27, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast: The Only One Who Didn't Run Away
by Wendy Mass

Mass has created a refreshing and entirely different take on the standard Beauty and the Beast tale in this thoroughly entertaining book. In her version, Beauty isn't quite as beautiful as her name would suggest, and Riley is a prince who would much rather study science than rule. Fortunately, the future king will be his elder brother Alexander, who's taller, more athletic, and more attractive to girls. Beauty also has an older sister who is prettier and gentler than she. Clarissa, however, is easily distracted.

Made destitute after their house burns down and their father's business falters, Beauty is forced to find a job. She finds work in an apothecary shop, but shortly after, agrees to help a young girl find her mother. As for Riley, he and his family have an unfortunate encounter with a witch, who turns him into the Beast and makes his family invisible. This causes a lot of bickering, for the king and Alexander are practical jokers, and their antics are quite exasperating for the beleaguered queen. Especially when the king stops wearing clothes. 

Funny and irreverent, with believable characters and a more realistic plot (even if it is a fairy tale), this is an enjoyable romp that girls and boys will definitely fall for. They'll also want to check out the other books in the Twice Upon A Time series: Rapunzel: The One With All the Hairand Sleeping Beauty: The One Who Took the Really Long Nap.

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