Leaping Beauty

Maguire, Gregory. "Leaping Beauty." Leaping Beauty: And Other Animal Fairy Tales. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.

This short story is part of the book with the same name. Beauty is a frog whose parents are king and queen. At her birth party, bumblebees and butterflies give the young frog wonderful gifts, but the fun is stopped by a mean old hornet, angry for having not been invited to the party. Old Dame Hornet says to Beauty, “Before your first birthday you shall bite down on a stray explosive from some stupid human engineering project, and you shall blow yourself to smithereens!” The beetles, who have not yet given their gift to Beauty, soften this curse by saying that although she will indeed bite down on this explosive, she will not blow up, but instead cry in pain, and will be called “Weeping Beauty.” Old Dame Hornet liked her curse better, but is still pleased, saying, “Well, crying all the time, that’s pretty bad too” (funny statements like this are enjoyed throughout the story). Sure enough, the curse comes true, but the king and queen have a plan of their own. They bring the loudly crying Beauty to the bottom of the tree where Old Dame Hornet lives, and she eventually can’t stand the constant crying another second. She consults with the bishop of the beetles, who says he will fix the spell if she apologizes to Beauty and promises to never hurt her. Still resentful, the hornet goes to see if the baron of the butterflies will help her instead, and he changes the spell from “weeping” to “sleeping.” She falls right to sleep, but unfortunately for Old Dame Hornet, she snores, and loudly! Unable to bear the noise, the hornet pays a visit to the boss of the bumblebees, who agrees to change the spell from “sleeping” to “leaping,” in exchange for a date with Old Dame. However, when this spell was broken, the “weeping” spell was reinstated. When Old Dame Hornet cannot take it anymore, she finally apologizes and promises to never harm Beauty. Beauty grows up to become a ballerina and all live happily ever after.

This was a delightful read. It was very entertaining on many levels, and I think children as well as adults will really get a kick out of this book. Click here to read a review of this book.

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