Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

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A spellbound prince is redeemed by a French beauty named Belle - you know the story. But this is the story before "the story." Donna Jo Napoli juxtaposes the unexpected to create a new classic from the old; the tale of a Persian prince whose pride sets an ancient curse in motion.

About Donna Jo Napoli

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Donna Jo Napoli was born in 1948. She has earned three degrees from Harvard University: a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.A. in Italian Literature, and a Ph.D. in General and Romance Linguistics. She has taught on the university level since 1970, is widely published in scholarly journals and has received numerous grants and fellowships in the area of linguistics. She teaches linguistics and was chair of the linguistics program at Swarthmore College. She is a published poet and coeditor of four poetry volumes. Napoli was introduced to Dutton by Lloyd Alexander. Dutton promptly published her first middle grade novel, Soccer Shock, in 1991 to critical and popular acclaim. In 1993, Napoli's versatility became evident with the publication of The Prince of the Pond which won the New Jersey Reading Association's M. Jerry Weiss Book Award in 1997. Napoli has also won a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Choice of the Years Best books for her novel Zel. Napoli's Stones in Water won the Golden Kite Award in 1997. She has written many young adult novels including The Wager in 2010.
Published June 13, 2005 by Thorndike Press. 281 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beast

Kirkus Reviews

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The writer who so intensely re-imagined Rapunzel in Zel (1996) and the Sirens in Sirena (1998) provides a sensual and brilliant imagining of the backstory of the Beast in this exotic tale.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Beast

Publishers Weekly

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The bulk of this Beauty and the Beast novel is devoted to (the beast) Orasmyn's life as a lion, everything from his probing of the complexities of his fate and his Islamic prayers to his efforts to obtain food.

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Publishers Weekly

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When Orasmyn finally meets Belle, they fall in love over the Aeneid, which Belle reads aloud to him in Latin (quoted here, without translation).

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Teen Reads

Based on Charles Lamb's 1811 poetic version, in which the hero is of Persian descent, Napoli follows Lamb's lead by setting her story in an exotic land, where roses, gardens, verse, and lions play important roles in a rich cultural backdrop.

Nov 01 2000 | Read Full Review of Beast

Common Sense Media

As Napoli explains in a note, her story is based on an 1811 poem by Charles Lamb, which specifies that the Beast was originally a Persian prince.

Jan 01 2000 | Read Full Review of Beast

The Literary Omnivore

Retelling fairy tales is one of the most prolific acts of fanfiction in the publishing industry, although there’s more room to maneuver in retelling fairy tales than in more traditional fanfiction, but the impulse is the same—correcting or supplementing the original text.

Nov 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Beast

Los Angeles Review of Books

The novel’s one-word title puts us on notice: in this version of Beauty and the Beast, it’s the Beast who will be telling the story.

Oct 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Beast

Description: (from book jacket) Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne.

Aug 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Beast

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