My absolute fairy tale ever is Beauty and the Beast. I personally own at least a dozen novel-length retellings of the story and another dozen picture books. There are about a zillion different movie variations of this fairy tale, but my absolute favorite is the Disney cartoon from my childhood. So, when The Artist a few years ago chose Beauty and the Beast book for her book and a movie during free pick, then I happily picked out the adaptation I most wanted her to read and talked through a Beauty and the Beast book club.
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Beauty and the Beast
I’m sure you’re wondering if I have 12 different Beauty and the Beast novelizations, which one would I pick?
I’m glad you asked, Beauty by Robin McKinley. If you ask anyone, what is the most definitive novel adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, people will tell you this one. It’s so well known, it’s got its own fandom and has references in a few novels as a person’s favorite book.
Also, I think it was some of the inspiration for Disney’s animated movie. Before this book, Belle was just generally nice, but she was frequently written as a bookworm and odd after this book.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to read it. My copy is a good 25-30 years old, and much loved.
Beauty and the Beast book club
Again, this was a summer book club, so it’s informal, but here are the questions I eagerly looked forward to talking with The Artist about once we settled in to talk:
- What inspirations from this adaptation do you see in Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast?
- Beauty and the Beast is part of a genre of fairy tales/mythology called animal bridegroom, what other stories can you think of that do this?
- What story from Greek mythology follows the story of B&B? (the myth of Eros and Psyche is commonly categorized as an animal bridegroom tale)
- People often say Belle has Stockholm Syndrome, do you agree or disagree?
- How was this version similar to the original fairy tale? (this would require reading an original version of the fairy tale)
- What additions to the fairy tale work in this adaptation?
Beauty and the Beast snacks
All right, since this is a Disney cartoon, I’m sure you know there is all manner of suggested snacks that may or may not be good. Or probably have very little to do with the original tale because Disney tended to bowdlerize (remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective.).
But, enough of my grumbling about Disney adaptations of original tales, let’s talk about snacks.
I did not get a picture of all of the Beauty and the Beast snacks, I’m not really sure why.
- Spice Cake- I think I picked up a box of spice cake and had cream cheese frosting
- Mirror- all versions of the story have an enchanted mirror, we used Oreos pulled in half with the frosting on them
- Books- with Hershey nuggets and paper
- Beast- circus animals (I super love these)
- Saddlebags- in the book when her Father returns, his saddlebags are stuffed full of things they needed from the Beast, we did gingerbread cookies
- Roses- I saw where someone carved roses from strawberries, but I honestly just didn’t get that done, so I just put out strawberries
- fancy dresses- sugar cookies with a dress cookie cutter (I repurposed the bell as a dress by reshaping it ever so slightly)
- Enchanted Water- the water at Beast’s castle seemed enchanted, Canada Dry
- Wine- it’s originally a French castle, so, of course, they drink wine, Grape juice
- The Wind- in the Beauty adaptation, the Wind is a definite part of it, and sometimes Beauty feels like the air guides her
For some reason, we didn’t have a meal this time. And as always, the snack labels are in the subscriber section, (have you joined my newsletter?). You’ll also get a coupon to buy the Book and a Movie bookmarks for free (everyone likes free) as part of the welcome series.
More Fairy Tale (or fairy tale-like) book and a movie nights
- Ella Enchanted book club
- Peter Pan book club (fairy tale adjacent)
- Alice in Wonderland book club (fairy tale adjacent)
- Black Cauldron book club (Welsh mythology, fairy tale adjacent)