I cannot stress enough how much we love books around here. Love, love, love books. Great books have a wonderful way of working their way into your heart and weaving themselves into your life in a way unlike any other school lesson we could teach.
Finding great books is challenging. We moms are busy, and leisurely browsing the shelves in any location – grocery store, thrift store, library – happens about as often as a weekend away with our husbands. Not very often.
A charming classic fairy tale appropriate for very young listeners can actually be surprisingly difficult to find. Original stories written by Hans Christian Anderson or the Grimm brothers are fantastic but quite often, well, a little morbid. Which works well for older listeners (I’m talking probably 6 and up, if you think they can handle it.) who can be enthralled by the gore. But for the younger ones (say, 3-5 years old) a beautifully illustrated retelling is the perfect way to get them hooked on traditional works. (And by beautifully retold and illustrated, I don’t mean the book version of the Disney movie. I didn’t need to say that, right?)
Jan Brett is an author and illustrator whose name you will want to write down somewhere. She has retold several classic fairy and folk tales in a way that will keep the little ones attention with both the story and her lovely illustrations. Simple, but certainly not twaddle. And, as with any great book, it will captivate older listeners as well. Mom included.
Beauty and the Beast is the latest Jan Brett fairy tale we have enjoyed. Bring home and savor.