Sing Me a Story with Belle is an American live-action series created by Patrick Davidson and Melissa Gould. The series features Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who works at her own bookstore in France. She is usually greeted by children who would like to hear a story. Belle interacts with the children and narrates classic Disney stories while doing activities around the bookstore. The series premiered on September 8, 1995 on Disney Channel.
According to Ken Weiner, vice president at Buena Vista Television, using classic animated shorts allows the show to present a higher quality of animation than would normally be feasible in an educational show that who get U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval.
By early 1999, it was said that the show would present two short films per episode (with updated music), which Belle and the children would sometimes interrupt for discussion purposes or to "test cognitive abilities".
Belle (portrayed by Lynsey McLeod) lives in the country of France and owns her own music and bookshop. Helping her at the bookstore are Lewis and Carol (their names being a joke on author Lewis Carroll), two magical bookworms. Also at the bookstore is Harmony the Cat. The bookstore is visited by local children to whom Belle will tell (and sing) stories, usually with a moral that fit a situation happening in the shop or with the children.
Often classic Disney short films, such as "Pecos Bill" and "The Brave Little Tailor" are used to illustrate the stories.
Belle walks down the quiet countryside of France and greets the citizens of the town while singing "Sing Me a Story." She later enters her bookshop and the song ends.
The entire sequence consisting of Belle walking from her home to the bookshop used in this show's opening sequence is directly lifted from the "Belle" song sequence from the original animated film, albeit with the animated Belle from the original film replaced by live-action Belle portrayed by Lynsey McLeod.
Man One: Sing me...
Man Two: ...a story
Woman: Sing me...
Man Three: a rhyme
Belle: sing all about what happened, Once upon a time
When I sing a story
When I sing a rhyme
It is though I heard it
For the very first time
I love to hear a story
Told the way we do
Because when I sing a story
Everything seems all brand new
Big Book: So sing me a story
Lewis & Carol: Sing me a rhyme
Harmony: Sing me all about what happened (purrs) Once upon a time
Belle: When I sing a story or you sing a rhyme
It is though I've heard it
For the very first time
- Lynsey McLeod - Belle
- Jeff Conover - Harmony the Cat (voice)
- Jim Cummings - Big Book, Lewis the Book Worm (voice)
- Christine Cavanaugh - Carol the Book Worm (voice)
- Mary Kay Bergman - Fifi, Hansel & Gretel, Elf, Witch
- Tim Goodwin - Brioche
- Jacob Chase
- Kirsten Storms
- Shawn Pyfrom
- Hampton Dixon - 'Little" Hampton
- Jennefer Jesse
- Natalie Trott
- Julie Vanlue
- Kerry Anne Bradford
- Chris Robles
- Kristian Truelsen - Musician
- Folk Heroes (features Paul Bunyan)
- Valuing What's Worthy (features Susie the Little Blue Coupe and The Little House)
- Feeling Like an Outcast (features Ferdinand the Bull and Elmer Elephant)
- Working Together (features Morris, the Midget Moose and Babes in the Woods)
- What's Inside Counts (features Mickey's Rival and The Cookie Carnival)
- Sleepover (features Lonesome Ghosts and Wynken, Blynken and Nod)
- Friends in Books (features Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree)
- Do Something (features Wonder Dog and clips of the following: Goofy Gymnastics, How to Play Baseball, How to Play Golf, How to Play Football, Casey at the Bat, Thru the Mirror, Farmyard Symphony, Out of Scale, Hockey Homicide, The Brave Engineer, The Hockey Champ, The Art of Skiing and Donald's Golf Game)
- Taking the Easy Way Out (features The Grasshopper and the Ants and The Big Bad Wolf)
- Stick to It (Don't Give Up) (features Mail Dog and The Brave Engineer)
- Overcoming Fear (features Lambert the Sheepish Lion and Brave Little Tailor)
- Everyone's Special (features Goliath II)
- Best Friends (features Goofy and Wilbur and The Pelican and the Snipe)
- Everybody Needs a Friend (features Pluto's Fledgling and Little Hiawatha)
- Taking Responsibility (features Little Toot and In Dutch)
- Reap What You Sow (features The Wise Little Hen and The Three Little Pigs)
- Steady Effort (features The Tortoise and the Hare and Pedro)
- Feeling Left Out (Loneliness) (features The Ugly Duckling and The Cold-Blooded Penguin)
- Sibling Rivalry (features Pluto's Kid Brother)
- Wonderful World of Music (features Music Land)
- Problem Solving: Ingenuity (features Mickey and the Beanstalk)
The show premiered on Disney Channel on July 26, 1999. The show continued to play on Disney Channel in the early mornings as part of Playhouse Disney, in 2000. It was later taken off the channel for upcoming shows. It continued playing in the United Kingdom versions of Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney until August 2005, and was then played increasingly rarely, although it briefly came back as regular programming in September 2007, until it was axed altogether in November. It has not been on the air since.
Home video availability
Two videos featuring two episodes on each were released as part of the Disney Princess Collection: Chapters of Enchantment and The World of Music. In 1999, two episodes from the first season were released with an episode of an abandoned Beauty and the Beast cartoon series and were released direct-to-video as Belle's Tales of Friendship. The 2011 DVD releases of Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World each had an episode of this show as a bonus feature.