My Top 5 Versions of Beauty and the Beast

As I’m looking forward to the new Disney live action version of Beauty and the Beast (early reviews are vaguely positive), I recall the first time I read a Beauty and the Beast story: in elementary school, one of our Reading textbooks had among its folk tales a telling of the traditional French story, complete with illustrations and a pretty page border.

Since then, I’ve developed a great love of fairy tales and have seen and read many version of Beauty and the Beast.  Here are some of my favorites.


Once Upon a Time (S1 Ep12 “Skin Deep”)

It’s been a few years since I watched Once Upon a Time, but the first season is particularly enjoyable, and BatB is one of the key fairy tales introduced.  Emilie de Ravin is a charming Belle, and they added some nice twists to the tale (Rumplestilksin is the Beast, and Belle becomes the town librarian) while keeping some nods to the Disney animated movie (Belle’s dresses, the chipped teacup).

Beastly by Alex Flinn

T544891his YA novel updates the BatB story to modern times and also follows the Beast’s perspective.  Kyle Kingsbury is cute, popular, and rich…until he manages to insult a real, live witch at his high school, who turns him into a beast.  His famous father stashes him in a NYC townhouse with only a housekeeper and a blind tutor (plus a chat room for other magically transformed teenagers) for company. Our Belle here is the bookish Lindy, which is short for Linda, the Spanish word for “pretty.”

I gave this book a 4/5 when I first reviewed it.  It’s not my favorite YA fantasy by a long shot, but Kyle is a compelling narrator and it’s a nice urban update on the tale.

Masque by W.R. Gingell

I just re-read this book again recently; it was one of my great 29481285finds of 2016.  The BatB story is nestled inside a murder mystery filled with magic and intrigue.  Lady Isabella “Belle” Farrah is one of my favorite protagonists of all time.  She has such quick wit and emotional control, yet still manages to grow over the course of the book.

This book will appeal to fans of historical romance, fantasy, mystery, or even steampunk genres.  There’s so much to love!  Check out my original review here, or you can pick it up for cheap on Kindle on Amazon.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

8084This is a classic fairy tale novelization and was key in my (and I’m sure many other’s) love of the genre.  It’s a very traditional, novel-length telling, and pretty much a YA book before YA was a genre.  There’s no surprises here, just a great story with lovely writing.

Beauty is currently available as part of a $15 Humble Bundle of  “Women Of Science Fiction and Fantasy.” 

McKinley decided to revisited BatB twenty years later with Rose Daughter, which is a more daring, quirky take.  I like it a lot, too, but it’s not quite the classic that Beauty is.


Beauty and the Beast (1991)

This movie came out when I was about five years old; consequently it was one of the first Disney movies I saw, and it has remained a favorite throughout the years.  The opening sequence contains some of the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen.  And the songs!  I can still sing them all.  It stands tall as part of the Disney Renaissance, and was even the first animated movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Image result for beauty and the beast 1991
I picked this movie poster for an image because we used to have a giant puzzle of it.


What’s your favorite version of Beauty and the Beast?

26 thoughts on “My Top 5 Versions of Beauty and the Beast

  1. devonandcornwall March 15, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read Beastly! This is one of my favorite storylines of all time. I also suggest A Court of Thorns and Roses!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 16, 2017 / 10:59 am

      Beastly is a fun one. There’s a movie version also, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I’ve heard so many good things about ACOTAR, I’ll have to check it out.


  2. kwenzqoatl March 15, 2017 / 11:59 pm

    Beauty and the Beast might be my fave Disney movie. I really liked the french dubb too. My mom use to tell me a variation of it as a bedtime story when I was a little kid. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 16, 2017 / 10:56 am

      I think I’d have to rank Lion King above it, but it’s definitely up there at the top for me. I have such fond memories of it from my childhood. Your mom sounds awesome!


  3. starwarsanon March 16, 2017 / 6:38 am

    If you didn’t have Beauty on your list by McKinley, I was going to tell you GO READ IT RIGHT NOW. But you did so that’s very good. 🙂 And, yeah, I didn’t love Rose Daughter as much either. Beauty still remains the best.

    I will eventually see this live version but for now, I’m content with waiting until it comes out on DVD or Netflix. It does look good – just not go-to-the-theaters good enough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 16, 2017 / 10:54 am

      Yes, Beauty is a classic! I just saw that it’s part of a great Humble Bundle right now and updated the post with the link.

      I was actually also a bit on the fence about whether to see it in theaters, but we just got a lot of movie theater gift cards for Christmas haha. Otherwise I might have waited for DVD. Also, I did really enjoy the live action Cinderella, so I’m hoping for about the same.


      • starwarsanon March 16, 2017 / 12:19 pm

        Yeah I loved Cinderella too! That was really good and made me okay with Rose leaving Downton Abbey haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mei-Mei March 16, 2017 / 12:24 pm

        Haha same!


  4. thebrunettebookwormblog March 17, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    I’ve never heard of Masque – but I’m definitely going to have to pick that one up. I’m a sucker for a Beauty and the Beast retelling of any kind!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 17, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      It’s an indie that I stumbled across on Kindle, and I totally fell in love with it. It’s got some really clever twists on the traditional story.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. NovEllaandBanannabelle March 18, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    I remember when you posted your review of Masque. I got the book and I really did like it :). Lady Farrah is a great main character! Thanks again for sharing that.

    A few months ago, I watched “La Bella e la Bestia”, an Italo/Spanish mini-series that came out in 2014. It’s one of the best Beauty and the Beast versions I’ve ever seen! It follows the main storyline, but it isn’t a strictly traditional version, and I love what they did with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 18, 2017 / 2:30 pm

      That sounds great! Where were you able to watch the miniseries? I’d love to check it out.
      Glad you liked Masque, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • NovEllaandBanannabelle March 20, 2017 / 8:07 pm

        Actually, I’m not sure where the best place is to watch it now, in English. I came across a showing listed on a foreign channel, so I watched it with subtitles. I didn’t even realize until months later that the series was filmed in English! I hope you get the chance to see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The Arcane Nibbler March 24, 2017 / 3:11 am

    The 1946 French film classic La Belle et La Bete by poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau is my favorite. It is one of the most beautiful and enchanting fantasy films of all time. It may be hard to find but it’s well worth the trouble. Try to find the subtitled version as English dubbing ruins the performances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei March 24, 2017 / 7:56 am

      Ok, I’ll have to try to look for it! Live action versions of this story I think are very hit-or-miss. Sounds like this one is another “hit.” I always prefer subbed in general 🙂


      • Mei-Mei March 24, 2017 / 12:29 pm

        I have a VCR somewhere! Haha I kept it so I could still watch the VHS theatrical releases of the original Star Wars trilogy 😀 don’t know if it still works, though…


      • The Arcane Nibbler March 24, 2017 / 1:05 pm

        There are VHS versions available on Amazon. BTW Scientists are awesome and women scientists even more so, especially in the current anti-science “climate” (pun intended) in which we live.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. GeekyNerdyGirl March 31, 2017 / 8:39 pm

    Hahaha!! As soon as I saw that last image I thought, “Hey, I think that’s the picture that was used in the puzzle I had…” then I read the caption 🙂 Also, I always found the coloring of Belle’s outfit strange since that isn’t how it looks in the movie.

    As for the remake, I was really looking forward to seeing it, but then wussed out when the reviews started to come in. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney film – Belle is my homegirl – and I just got super protective of my memories. Maybe when it’s on DVD?


    • Mei-Mei April 1, 2017 / 11:35 am

      You know, I don’t think I noticed the coloring when I was a kid, but it was really bothering me when I was writing this post! I was wondering if the image was wrong, but it still seemed familiar. I also had the Lion King puzzle 😀

      I actually still haven’t gotten around to seeing the film-I may wait for DVD also at this point!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. aliciagaile January 3, 2018 / 9:00 am

    Haven’t heard of Masque, but it sounds interesting. I just finished a disappointing retelling of batb last night and could use a better version to get it out of my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei January 4, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      Definitely check out Masque! It was such a pleasant surprise for me. Hope you enjoy it more than the last one 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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