Tuesday 25 April 2017

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast retold by Alex Field, illustrated by Helene Magisson (New Frontier Publishing) HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 9781925059809

Reviewed by Rebecca Newman

This is a retelling of the well-known fairytale in a picture book format. The text of the story is in large clear type with lots of white space. The pared back narrative occasionally feels more like a story summary than storytelling — however, this simpler format might enable younger readers to have a go at reading the story for themselves.

I’m already a fan of Helene Magisson’s work as an illustrator and her illustrations glow with fairytale magic. The use of birdcages and butterflies in the background to symbolise imprisonment and then freedom will delight the observant child reader. The end papers give an extra twist to this element.

Beauty and the Beast is just one title in the Happily Ever After series and will be in bookshops from 1 March 2017. This is a beautifully presented hardcover book.

About the reviewer: Rebecca Newman is a children’s writer and poet. She is the editor of Alphabet Soup’s website and former editor of Alphabet Soup’s print magazine. rebeccanewman.net.au

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