Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Beast of the Month from Binettte Schroeder
I officially "met" (via email) my new publicist from Candlewick Press today. It will be her job to shepherd me through the labyrinth of PR duties as my Beast (Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge, for those of you who came in late) proudly strides toward publication!

What this means is that Beast is on track for his new pub date, July 10, 2018. Yay!

To celebrate, I'm reviving my Beast of the Month countdown. Yes, it's another 12 months between now and next July.

But to help pass the time, I'll be sharing some of my favorite versions of Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, as imagined by book illustrators and designers both vintage and modern.

They're not meant to resemble the Beast in my book, but I'm always looking for a Beast with a certain attitude (Beastitude?) that separates him from the pack. And they get extra points on my personal Beast-o-meter if they don't conform to the Disney standard.

Shroeder's Beauty: shock at first sight
Don't get me wrong: I loved Disney's original cartoon Beast as much as any other fangirl. But the tale itself is almost 300 years old (and that's just from the earliest written-down versions), and there have been hundreds of offbeat and highly original interpretations over time. And whenever I find a really cool one, I'll post it here!

Case in point: This fabulous 1986 Beauty and the Beast storybook illustrated by German artist Binette Schroeder!

Look at this majestic Beast (above)! I like the combination of leopard-spotted limbs and wolfish head. From the softness of the lines I'm pretty sure the medium is pastels, rendered by a master.

(Look at Beast's shadow gliding across the pillar behind him.)

And I love how the trees are growing through the window and into the room!

The image from the facing page shows Beauty having her first magical meal at the castle. I originally loved the idea that that the meal was preparing itself for her, the knife in mid-air, but now I see that she's just let go of the knife in her shock at seeing Beast for the first time.

Gorgeous gargoyle: ornaments fit for a Beast!
Either way, it's a very atmospheric image. Look at the misty moon outside, the leopard legs on the table, and that eerie gargoyle head on top of the arch of the window!

Next, we see Beauty running back to Beast's castle after dreaming that Beast is dying without her.

Don't you just love that lupine gargoyle bannister ornament with the delicate butterfly wings?

And at last, the grand finale, with Beauty rushing back to save Beast from dying of unrequited love for her — just before she confesses her love, and he rises again in the form of the handsome prince (below).

Just look at the faces in the shrubs, and the imposing silhouette of the castle in the moonlight.

Of course, this isn't exactly the way the story plays out in my book. Or, at least, it's not where my story ends. Beast gets a different happily-ever-after in my story.

Stay tuned!

(See more of Binette Schroeder's Beauty and the Beast illustrations!)

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