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Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty by Robin McKinleyBeauty by Robin McKinley
Series: Folktales #1
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on October 1, 1978
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780060241506
Source: Purchased



Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast.

Spiritual Content

There is mention of Beauty and her sisters getting baptized and of Beauty praying over a garden that’s lain fallow for years. Aside from that, the only spiritual content is Beauty deciding to give her sisters the skirt she wears to church. (Implying that she attends church regularly.)

As far as magic goes, most of what we see are the effects of the enchantment on the Beast, his servants, and his estate. “For example, there is always fruit on the trees in the garden, the flowers never fade, you are waited on by invisible servants . . . And many of the books in the library don’t exist.” The only other magic we witness is the Beast’s magic mirror which allows him to keep an eye on people and send messages to them in the form of dreams.


The only violence in the book aside from the Beast threatening to kill Beauty’s father for taking a rose from his garden — a threat he never carries out — is when we find out that a “sailor’s companion died by foul play.” (No more details are given.)

Drug And Alcohol Content

Due to her tomboyish nature and giant horse, Beauty is often called upon to haul wood and move unmovable objects. In exchange, she is sent home with beer and blankets. Once, after a tough job, she is “clapped on the back and given mugs of small beer.” After some time living at the castle in the woods, Beauty shares a bottle of wine with the Beast during dinner.

The only references to drugs throughout the book are Beauty noting that “the house smelled of tobacco smoke and strange perfumes” after the auction and Mr. Huston smoking his pipe.

Sexual Content

There are three non-descriptive kisses — one from Ferdy to Beauty and two between Beauty and the Beast — and a remark about Beauty’s sister, Grace, getting married and “starting a baby” to give her something to do while her betrothed sets sail on a three-year voyage.

Swearing Or Foul Language

  • One use of da-n
  • One use of h-ll

My Take On Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty by Robin McKinley is a fabulous retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, so if fairy-tale romance is your thing, this could be a good fit. Just be sure you can explain the “starting a baby” bit to those unfamiliar with the birds and the bees.

About Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is an American author best known for her fantasy novels and fairy tale retellings. Her 1984 novel The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery Medal as the year's best new American children's book. In 2022, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association named her the 39th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master in recognition of her significant contributions to the literature of science fiction and fantasy.

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