Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Favorite Beauty

There are plenty of Beauty and the Beast retellings out there.  My favorite by far is Robin McKinley's Beauty. This seems unfair of me, because McKinley has written more than one Beauty and the Beast retelling, so I worry it may sound as if I am saying "of all your children, I like that one best."  Which means, in turn, that I'll sound a bit silly when I hasten to add that I like all of Robin McKinley's Beauty and the Beast retellings.  There's a very meta bit in Sunshine, where the narrator says "There was a lot you could do with the story of Beauty and the Beast, and I had done most of it, and I did it again now."  I'm perfectly happy to keep reading Robin McKinley Beauty retellings if she keeps writing them.  I will like them all.

But Beauty is one of those books I grew up with, and it has that comfortable feeling for me of a book I've re-read every few years for decades, and so it is my favorite.  When I read other versions, I still hear echoes of this one in my head.

I'd love a really lush, deluxe edition, with lots of interior illustrations.  That type of thing doesn't often tempt me, but I'd make an exception here.  In my fantasy library, I'm voting for a version illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, in the style of her covers for the hardcover original edition of Dealing with Dragons.  Ideally, there'd be one of those multi-artist pinup sections in the back, as used to be common in certain comics in the 1990s, and so I could have the Thomas Canty page (for roses!) and the Kinuko Craft page (for gardens and swirly magic), and so forth through all my favorite illustrators from childhood.  Maybe a David Wiesner pinup for the library.  You know, as long as I'm fantasizing.

Wishing you a day full of comfortable and delightful reading in the library of your dreams.