So many books. So little time.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a group of friends got into a conversation about fairy tales.
"There are more than 800 versions of Cinderella," said one. "Same basic story, different countries, different cultures."
The author-illustrator team of H. Chuku Lee and Pat Cummings have achieved a similar cultural diversity with their simply told, gorgeously illustrated retelling of the tale of Beauty and The Beast.
The author gives Beauty a voice, when he writes the story in the first person. Beauty tells her story. There is greed—the sisters—and acceptance: her request for a single rose. There is love, loyalty, the power of a promise, and the transforming potential of love.
The illustrator gives a culture a voice. Her illustrations show the readers the geographical and cultural beauty, the nobility and enlightenment and wealth of lands on the African continent. Beauty can be everywhere.
While the tale stays faithful to the original, the book carries lightly this powerful message of love and inclusion.