Sunday, August 01, 2010

August Book of the Month

"Happily ever after" doesn't always end the fairy tale, as Beauty finds out in Michael O. Tunnell's Beauty and the Beastly Children. After Prince Auguste--formerly known as the Beast--marries Beauty, he becomes vain and self-centered like he was before his curse made him the Beast. Auguste cares more about hanging out with his hunting buddies than running his kingdom. He collects undeserved awards instead of spending time with his wife. He isn't even present when his triplets are born. His thoughtless, careless ways irritate Beauty until she can't stand it.

Worse, Auguste's bad habits affect his newborn sons. When Beauty and Auguste first lay eyes on their triplets, they discover that the fairy's curse on Auguste has carried over to his children, who look and act like wild monsters from the minute they're born. They grow fast...too fast. Soon they're tearing through the castle, wrecking everything they can, and scaring the life out of everyone. It's up to Auguste to tame his beastly offspring, but can he handle the job?

This tongue-in-cheek sequel to Beauty and the Beast shows a parent's inner ugliness causing his children's outer ugliness, manifesting through bad behavior even more than through appearance. John Emil Cymerman draws character expressions that enhance feelings and attitudes with depth and precision; there's no mistaking Beauty's disgust toward her husband or Auguste's high opinion of himself. Tunnell delivers his tale with sly humor and everyday wisdom that parents can appreciate with their kids.

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