Review - The Lady and the Lion by Laurel Long and Jacqueline K. Ogburn

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Shadow Proves the Sunshine by Switchfoot.

My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)

I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).

The Lady and the Lion by Laurel Long and Jacqueline K. Ogburn
Published: October 27, 2003
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 32
Current Amazon Rank: #677,399 (out of print?)
Author's Website: Here
Want it? Find it here.

The First Line:

Once upon a time, a merchant asked his three daughters what he should bring them from the city.

My Take:

This is a picture book. But don't underestimate it because of that. This is a fairy tale retelling straight from the the Brother's Grimm that few seem to know exists. They never had a Beauty and the Beast story. That came from Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (more famously abridged and adapted by Mme Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, both in the 18th century). This is as close to Beauty and the Beast you'll find in their pages, but at the same time, it is much more.

It starts out much the same, with the father making a grievous error of judgment and it is his youngest daughter who must pay the price. But of course the lion is not as cruel as he first seems, nor as ordinary. But here comes the first twist. He turns into a human at night. And she can see him, but cannot shed the light of a candle on him. In time they fall and love and marry. But that is only the beginning of the story...

(All I can say is it involves dresses, a quest, an ocean, and a flying griffin. Eat your heart out Beauty and the Beast).

The story is great and yet again I have to wonder how some stories are so remembered and others fall to the wayside. This one is definitely worth a good dusting, even with the coughing fits that may ensue. But the illustrations! Oh my goodness, they are gorgeous. Intricate, detailed, and completely mesmerizing. The book is worth it for the illustrations alone. Luckily, the story is just as engaging, and you'll wonder where this "familiar" fairy tale will turn next.

The Final Word: For the gorgeous illustrations and a different take on a familiar fairy tale, it is worth every page and every word of this stunning picture book.


Charlotte said...

Wow, that looks gorgeous! (heads off to library website to see if I can get it)

Charlotte said...

Yes! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I definitely haven't heard of this one- thanks for the info! Our 3rd graders were just doing a unit on fairy tales and The Lady and the Lion would be perfect to share with them!

Heather Zundel said...

Charlotte - Oh good! It's getting harder to find for some reason. I hope you like it!

Katie - You're welcome! Do tell me if you share it with them, and what they think of it (it even has a dragon). :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Wow. It's so beautiful! This seems like the kind of book you want to rip pages out to frame. If that wasn't sacrilege of course.