Charlotte Craft studied comparative literature at Columbia University in New York. After graduating, she traveled to Japan, where she worked as an interpreter and photographer. She now lives in Scotland with her family. The New York Times complimented her first book, Cupid and Psyche, for its "clear, simple text" and noted that the book a "excels in conveying the mythology." In addition to Cupid and Psyche, she is also the illustrator of Marianna Mayer's Pegasus, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Ms. Craft lives in Connecticut. Kinuko Y. Craft has won more than one hundred graphic-arts awards, including five gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. In 2008, she was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Her art has been in print for almost half a century, appearing on the covers of such prestigious publications as Time and Newsweek. Her illustrated books on Greek myths and of classic fairy tales have been published in the United States and other English-language countries, and in Europe, China, and Korea. Says Kirkus Reviews, "Every detail of her work--the flowers by a spring, a red cloak unfurled against a blue sky, moonlight on a tiger's back--is beautifully rendered." Beauty and the Beast is her ninth illustrated book.
Gr 5-8‘The late post-Hellenistic story of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche is more fairy tale than myth. It allegorically represents the maturing of the soul (psyche) under the influence of love (eros). Craft retells Apuleius's story (although Apuleius's name nowhere appears) with several minor and two significant changes. When Venus seeks revenge on the too-beautiful Psyche, she instructs her son to make the girl a slave (in various translations) to an "unworthy," "poor and abject," or "ugly and monstrous" love. Craft's charge is to make her love "the most frightening creature in the world," neatly meshing with the description of Cupid as one whose power even the gods fear. In abridging the story, Craft loses some of the tension in the family drama of the sisters' envy, Venus's enmity, and Psyche's efforts (here she is aided by Cupid, while in Apuleius even stones spontaneously help her). When she returns from her last task, with the box containing one day's beauty, Craft misses the connection between sleep and beauty, emphasizing instead the sleep of death. The sensational oil-over-watercolors should guarantee this book wide circulation. Elegantly bordered, the elaborate paintings incorporate elements of neoclassical, 19th-century, and Art Deco design into richly detailed, idealized romantic tableaux. The over-the-top lushness of the art compensates for the insipidity of the characters' faces, drawn from type rather than from life. This gorgeous Valentine will long outlast February's flurry.‘Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI