This December Holidays Library Lesson covers winter holidays from all over the world! Features Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Pancha Ganapati, Boxing Day, and La Befana. Includes whole-group library lesson, scrolling slideshow, Recommended Reads, Scavenger Hunt activity, and lesson plan template.

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Review: Of Beast and Beauty (Jay)

AUTHOR: Stacey Jay
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780375991004
PAGES: 391
SOURCE: public library
GENRE: fairy tales

SUMMARY: In another time on another planet, seventeen-year old Princess Isra, a blind Smooth Skin, is raised as a sacrifice. Her blood will ensure her domed city continues to thrive despite the planet’s unforgiving desert climate. Out in the desert, nineteen-year old Gem, one of the mutated Monstrous, breaks into the city to steal the Smooth Skins’ secret to survival. As this unlikely pair grows closer, they begin to uncover secrets about their planet and their people that could either save or destroy them all.

REVIEW: I finished this book in tears. The writing hooked me right from the first page, and I stayed hooked right to the very end. Of Beast and Beauty was so compelling that I read it in one day.

I loved how the Beauty and the Beast story was completely there, right down to the stealing of the roses and the hasty promises made by the father, but none of the BB references were the same as in the original story. The sci-fi spin reminded me of Kaufman’s These Broken Stars and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.

Characters, particularly Gem and Isra, are fully-developed and imperfect and frustrating and just awesome in the way they communicate with each other. I love that the chapters alternate points of view, mostly from Gem and Isra, but with a few thrown in from another important character.

Gem and Isra share and discover lots of stories, legends, and histories about the planet’s two different cultures and how they came to be. I love how those stories intertwine with Isra and Gem’s story, especially how they are integrated into the final pages of the book (Kleenex alert!).

Intimate scenes between Isra and Gem are so well-written readers will feel the connection. It never goes farther than kissing, but they are some steamy kisses!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t miss this fantastic dystopian retelling of Beauty and the Beast. A must-read and one of my favorites for 2013!

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. I have tons of fairytale readers who will devour this book.

READALIKES: These Broken Stars (Kaufman), Chaos Walking trilogy (Ness), Cruel Beauty (Hodge)


  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5–read in one day!
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild-medium; steamy kissing scenes; multiple references to sex but none takes place; one reference to erection; a character has out-of-wedlock baby prior to the story
  • Violence: mild-medium; some blood, taking of prisoners as slaves, poisoning, murder, suicide–none are described in detail
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; poisoning
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