Review: Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World by Maria Tatar

Be our guest this weekend with the live action Disney, Beauty and the Beast, hitting theaters!

The animated Disney film was one of my most favorite movies growing up and even now, I still find myself singing along to all the songs when I hear them!

Not to mention, my 7 month only baby LOVES animated Disney and the music, though The Little Mermaid is his all time favorite, Beauty and the Beast is a close second so needless to say I watch the animated Beauty and the Beast about once a week.

I am also currently streaming Disney on my Pandora station which is full of Beauty and the Beast classic songs, all to get ready for the upcoming movie release!

So like many fans around the world, I am anxiously waiting for the live action film to be released because let’s be honest….it looks absolutely magical! And as a little girl, I loved that Belle made reading cool for nerd girls around the world!

But have you ever asked yourself what it is about Beauty and the Beast that grabs you and holds on to that special place in your heart? Where did this story come from? Is it the whole ‘love is blind and conquers all’ cliche that hooks you?

Whatever it is, Beauty and the Beast is a timeless tale that appeals widely to people around the world, but beyond the Disney version of the story and music, I know very little of the original fairy tale.

When Penguin approached me to review this book, I was absolutely thrilled to learn about the origins of the fairy tale as well as read about how others around the world have created similar fairy tales.

Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another – such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples – and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. From Cupid and Psyche, India’s Snake Bride to South Africa’s ‘Story of Five Heads’, the partnering of beast and beauties has beguiled us for thousands of years.

In this fascinating volume preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures. (Goodreads Summary)

Since this book was more of a collection of similar fairy tales, it read really really fast. One of the things that stood out to me was how well the book was organized and each story laid out for the readers. Each version of the fairy tale was from a different country, and not just the western versions, there were tales from Japan, India, and beyond! Each version had a little overview before you started each one and I found this very informative because I personally liked reading about the origins and culture before reading the story itself.

While each story was vastly different in of itself, at the heart was a moral lesson for the reader. While not every story would be suitable for children (some dealt with death etc), I think this is a book that parents could also share with their children and that the children would also enjoy with parental guidance. They were each unique but recognizable in themes and lessons so many would find them appealing.

The only thing that I wasn’t really a fan of was the cover art. For me it didn’t grab my attention or appeal to me very much. I personally would have liked to have seen maybe a simple cover with just a rose, something besides what we see here. If I saw this one in the bookstore, I would likely have walked right by it. There is nothing eye catching to me about it which made me sad because this book was full of beautiful stories.

If, like me, you are getting geared up and excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie this weekend, then I highly recommend picking this one up for fun and learn the true story behind Belle and her Beast! It really is a tale as old as time.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World by Maria Tatar

  • Paperback, 196 pages
    Published March 7th 2017 by Penguin Classics
    ISBN 0143111698 (ISBN13: 9780143111696)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Classics, anthology, fairy tales, children’s lit

Memorable lines/quotes: 

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