My daughter, Erin, and I have watched Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast no less than 500 times. She is completely captivated by this "tale as old as time" -- and with Erin every time is more magical than the next. She sings, claps, and narrates along, expecting all within earshot to respond in kind.
"Look Mom, it's the Beast! Grrrrr!!" she growls when he first appears.
Erin, 15, has an autism spectrum disorder. She perceives and responds to life's details differently than most. In Erin's world trees "dance," the sun "smiles" and misplaced objects are not "lost," but rather "hiding." She revels in the mundane and sees beauty and wonder all around her.
For Erin, no magic spell is needed for inanimate objects to come alive. It makes perfect sense that a teapot sings and a clock and candelabra might serve as one's most trusted confidants. I've always imagined that Erin feels an intrinsic connection to Belle, who questions these phenomenon no more than Erin would.