A Russian version of ""Beauty and the Beast,"" with little deviation in plot from the more familiar de Beaumont or Perrault. Written in the 19th century, the text serves here as a vehicle for the watercolors of Diodorov, as award-winning Russian illustrator who employs vibrant colors and an old-fashioned storybook style. He clothes characters in traditional Russian costume, with elaborate textures, gold threads, and bejeweled headdresses; his gardens are lush and opulent, with decorative detailing adding a whimsical touch. While the Beast is too cartoonlike to be truly frightening, and ""the merchant's daughter, a rare beauty,"" faints away at the slightest provocation, little beasties and gremlins hiding in the foliage are an eerie reminder that all is not what it seems. Though this is a powerful story with strong folk motifs, they are buried here, unfortunately, in a text burdened with overwriting (possibly the fault of the translation). For large comparative folklore collections.