Review--The Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve

One of the most beloved fairy tales of all time gets reimagined in this deluxe unabridged collector's edition. Since its initial publication in 1740, generations of readers have been captivated by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's timeless story about a beautiful young girl who falls in love with a ferocious beast. With all-new lush illustrations and exclusive interactive elements from the award-winning design studio MinaLima, this charming book invites you to explore the Beast's enchanted palace with Beauty and a host of magical creatures. It is the perfect addition to any library and sure to delight readers of all ages.






I don’t know if I’ve ever read the full version of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s The Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read a shortened version of it for sure, but this full version definitely brings new light to the Disney story I’ve come to know and love! I can definitely see why Disney had to make their magic happen over the story for some elements were definitely not child appropriate. I must say that illustrations and interactive elements by MinaLima were superb! I have the Peter Pan edition of this HaperCollins line as well, which was equally beautiful!

The story is naturally, as old as time, we have a young girl who is willing to exchange her life and freedom for that of her father’s in the castle of a most fearsome beast. But oddly enough, Beauty is far from a prisoner here, it’s like she’s an exalted guest! She actually has very little interaction with the Beast except for a short conversation after dinner, though they do dine together as well. And every night the Beast proposes marriage to Beauty and every night she must refuse.

Definitely some oddities there, but this is a fairy tale! The language was so rich, it kind of reminded me why I avoid classics these days. It gets really “rich” and it’s hard to remember what the characters are saying exactly. The language back then was definitely an art!

It’s hard to really write a review over a fairy tale that we all already know, or mostly I guess. I feel like we all know the Disney movie more. The differences between the two were quite large! The characters are pretty different too, though Beauty does seem to be the same kind and caring person. Though here, there is definitely something more. The prince as well seems to have been a different person as well. He wasn’t necessarily the selfish and unkind man we all know about. Though ironically, he doesn’t have a name here either. Guess that’s why Disney went the way they did! LOL!

I was actually surprised by a few other magical involvements in this one. Without getting into too much detail let’s just say that “Enchantress” definitely has a larger role in this one! And so much backstory to know about as well! Just when you think the “Happily Ever After” will come about, you find that there are three more chapters! It’s insane!

It’s hard to really critique style and pacing and whatnot with this one, I mean it’s a classic! So yes, the language is different, the pacing is different! Just when you expect a happy ending you get three more chapters worth of backstory of how exactly the Beast came to be cursed and then another chapter worth of backstory for another character! It’s kind of insane, but a good kind I guess you could say.

The illustrations were truly beautiful! I loved seeing them throughout the pages. Although there were a few instances in the last three chapters that the artwork was scarce and I felt like this made reading a bit more of a struggle since the lines were spaced so sparingly and again with the language being a bit of a struggle to adapt to. Also, very long paragraphs. I guess this was before formatting became such a bigger issue. But those are just small generalities that were disappointing, hardly enough to detract from the magic that is a classic fairy tale!

Though there was one twist to the story I didn’t really see coming, and I’m like whaaaaaat? Definitely a different time my friends.

If you’ve ever wanted to read the full and original story of The Beauty and the Beast I highly recommend this edition because the illustrations and interactive elements were truly gorgeous and a delight! And the cover itself is a beautiful sight as well! Makes for a perfect addition to my own classics shelf on top of the bookcase!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars 




2 comments:

  1. Great review! I always like comparing the originals to the Disney versions. The original Beauty & The Beast is one I haven’t gotten to yet.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I am loving this edition of Beauty and the Beast! I have to add this to my collection. Great review!

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