Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review - Reading Beauty

Reading Beauty
by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Meg Hunt
Date: 2019
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 44
Format: e-book
Source: library

When a fairy's curse—a deathlike sleep via paper cut—threatens to make her kingdom barren of books, it's up to space princess Lex to break the spell and bring books back to her people. Set in the universe of the acclaimed Interstellar Cinderella, this irrepressible fairy tale retelling will charm young readers with its brave heroine, its star-studded setting, and its hilarious, heartwarming happy ending.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

While Interstellar Cinderella brought a modern, feminist twist to "Cinderella", Reading Beauty does the same with the classic "Sleeping Beauty". Instead of a spindle being the catalyst for the curse, it's a paper cut. What else would it be for a voracious reader like Lex?

The rhyming text tells the story in a fun way, and there is a neat twist near the end that helps explain why the fairy cast the curse in the first place.

Like Interstellar Cinderella, Reading Beauty has nearly impeccable rhyme, which makes it easy to read aloud. Aside from one instance of a character shrugging their speech, the writing itself is pretty strong, too. I don't like the illustrations here quite as much as I did in Interstellar Cinderella; they're highly stylized in both books, but the fairy in this one looks just a bit too chaotic (I had to pause a few times and look at her more closely because her strange proportions and exaggerated features confused my eyes and brain a bit).

Overall, though, Reading Beauty is just as strong as its predecessor. I really hope Underwood and Hunt make more of these clever retellings. I'm sure there are more stories from that planetoid just waiting to be told.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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