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Dunn, Sonja
Illustrated by Susan Darrach Goderich (Ont.) Moonstone Press, 1994.32pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-920259-50-2. CIP

Grades K-3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Catherine McInerney

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

Sonja Dunn is best noted for her helpful guides to using poetry with children (Butterscotch Dreams, Crackers and Crumbs (Pembroke Publishers, 1990), and Primary Rliymerry (Pembroke Publishers, 1993)), which have become classic resources.

In this book the trendy (due to the recent Disney movie) story of Beauty and the Beast is reduced to a rap. The author has previously written another fairy-tale rap, Rapunzel's Rap.

While this is a version that will certainly attract attention from kids of the current generation, it is not certain that rap will not become dated rapidly. Also, there are many classic versions of this tale with more beauty and timelessness. For example, I would recommend versions by Marianna Mayer and Jan Brett. The fairy-tale text loses much in rap translation, the elegance and detail of the language lost in an attempt to make the text rhythmic and modern. The constant repetition of phrases is monotonous after a while. The illustrations have modernized the character of Beauty into the eight-year-old girl next door, whose father is a businessman.

While making it easier for children to identify with the main character, this version also deromanticizes her. The candy colours used are also very Disneyesque in their brightness and flatness. While this book may have an initial catchy appeal, it does not have what it takes to become an enduring favourite.

Not recommended.

Catherine Mclnerney is a children's librarian with the St. Catharines Public Library

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