Tale As Old As Time

Red Rose
Source: Hamachidori, Wikimedia Commons

Why is a fairy tale that was recorded nearly three hundred years ago so popular?

Maybe because the lessons that it teaches never get old: love others for who they are, not how they appear; be brave; be kind.

The version that most of us know today comes from France, but from China to Sweden, West Africa to the Americas, versions of the Beauty and the Beast story can be found all over the world. Here are a few of my favorites:

Beauty and the Beast: "To be unloved is a great misery, and the loneliness of it nearly impossible to bear." This new retelling of the timeless classic is my favorite to read aloud.

Beauty and the Beast: The traditional French version of the story is a feast for the eyes filled with richly detailed illustrations of enchanted castles and golden horses.

Beauty and the Beast: Pay close attention to the buildings and carvings in the illustrations of this West African retelling, then check out one of these books to learn more about the art and architecture of the region.

Dragon Prince: "The eye sees what it will, but the heart sees what it should." The beast in this Chinese folktale is a dragon.

East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon: A brave girl, an enchanted prince-turned-bear and a wicked troll make up the cast of characters in this folktale from Scandinavia.

Snowbear Whittington: This retelling comes from North America and also features a daring girl and a not-so-beastly bear.

What's your favorite fairy tale?