Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is shaping up to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. Fans who can’t wait to know all of the plot details, or those who can’t wait to relive the adventure, will find a great companion in this novelization from Disney Press. And since Belle’s favorite hobby is getting lost in a good book, you’ll feel a special kinship with this heroine as you turn through the pages.
As a faithful retelling of the animated classic, anyone who grew up with Disney’s 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast will already be familiar with the main story beats. However, there have been some tweaks and adjustments to the screenplay and those are all included here. For those unfamiliar with how movie novelizations are created, they are typically based on the shooting script, and therefore sometimes contain deleted scenes or changed plot lines. Having not seen the film, I can only speak to what is changed in the book.
Readers looking for a glimpse into what’s new with this version will instantly discover a richer, more detailed prologue. We experience just how arrogant the prince truly was leading up to the Enchantress’ curse and more background as to why his servants remain so loyal to him. Gaston becomes a far greater villain here, with a larger capacity for cruelty than his animated counterpart, and LeFou becomes more than just a sidekick. Elements of the original fairytale have been restored, such as Belle’s request that Maurice return from his trip with the gift of a single red rose. But perhaps the biggest change comes in the form of a new enchanted object, a magic book in the Beast’s library that can transport Belle to memories of far away and long forgotten places, allowing her to relive a forgotten truth about her mother.
Writer Elizabeth Rudnick is by now a master at adapting screenplays into novels, which she has now done for Disney more than a handful of times for Maleficent, Cinderella, Frozen and Pete’s Dragon. Her adaptation allows you to get inside Belle’s head, hear her inner thoughts, and experience her adventure first hand. It’s easy to see why she has become Disney Press’ go-to writer for movie adaptations.
There are many Beauty and the Beast movie tie-in books to choose from, but this novelization is my top choice for readers looking to relive the magic of the film. This one is aimed at readers ages 8 and up, but there are several other choices including a picture book for kids, a twist on the tale for teens, a collection of poems and quotes for adults, and an art of coloring book.