I have always been a fan of fairy tales, and as soon as I was old enough to understand the inventiveness of retold and reimagined fairy tales, I loved those, too. Donna Jo Napoli is one of the most prolific authors when it comes to retold fairy tales. Beast is one of my personal favorites, but she has also reimagined classic fairy tales like Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumplestiltskin, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Check out her website to learn more about her books for kids and teens.
Once upon a time, there was a prince. His name was Orasmyn, and his father was the shah of Persia. Throughout his life his luck had always been good – until the day that he was cursed. He was told that the next day, his father would kill him, and that the only thing that would break the curse was a woman’s love. Orasmyn thought he had the answer – he made his father promise to kill no man the next day, and he planned to stay locked in his room just in case. But his plan unraveled on the way to his room. Orasmyn stopped to help a servant girl; a girl who was not what she seemed. She was a pari — a fairy — who delivered the second part of the curse by turning Orasmyn into a lion. Now, his father had promised not to kill any man, but he didn’t say anything about lions. In fact, his father was going on a lion hunt the next day, and had promised to kill a lion with his bare hands. Orasmyn spent the next day narrowly escaping the hunters, and the days after that realizing that even though he had escaped death, that he was still a lion, so the curse still needed to be broken.
Orasmyn the lion went to France to find a woman who would love him and finally break the curse. He didn’t know it yet, but one day he would meet a woman named Belle who would finally be the one to save him … but then, we already know her side of the story.