The Black Bull of Norroway is a story very similar to “The Beauty and the Beast.” The heroine of each story is a young girl with two greedy older sisters, and the heroine must learn to love a monster. Yet, the plot of this story stands on its own.

In “The Beauty and the Beast,” Beauty (Belle) is portrayed as a self-sacrificing daughter who only agrees to marry the beast so that she can save her father. However, in The Black Bull of Norroway, the bull treats Peggy Ann kindly from the very beginning and takes care of her. Peggy Ann’s trial comes later in the story. After she has helped the black bull regain his human form as the Duke of Norroway (Norway), she becomes lost, and he cannot find her. Peggy Ann works for seven years before she is able to search for the Duke, only to find that he is engaged to another woman. Peggy Ann, though, is not going to give up, and finds a way to win him back.

This book is a wonderful story to use with any lesson or unit on fairy tales, especially when comparing similar fairy tales. Charlotte Huck’s writing is very artistic and descriptive, and Anita Lobel’s watercolor illustrations are beautiful – they could practically tell the story on their own! I encourage you to find this book and then put it on your classroom bookshelf.

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Welcome to another Picture Book Weekend! This weekend we will take a look at a Scottish fairy tale. The Black Bull of Norroway is retold by Charlotte Huck and illustrated by Anita Lobel. This is a similar story to “The Beauty and the Beast” and “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” as the Black Bull of Norroway is a monster who is later tamed by a young lady. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I look forward to posting the review tomorrow, Sunday, 24 June 2012.