Age Range: 5 - 9
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This beautiful and very traditional retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale is lavishly illustrated in a very painterly style, with oils over watercolors and placed in imaginary settings of 17th- and 18th-century France. The illustrations, each set in a white frame within the page, evoke classical paintings, and are full of lush golds, greens, and yellows. The fairy godmother, who metamorphoses from a bluebird that Cinderella had nursed back from an injury at the beginning of the story, is presented in much more modern style, with shades of Arthur Rackham or the art-nouveau style. The details, especially on the clothes and the foliage, are exquisitely rendered. The text, adapted mostly from The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book and The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, adheres closely to the familiar story with the exception of the bluebird, a variation inspired by the Grimms’s “Aschenputtel.” The details of Cinderella’s life aren’t gone into in much depth in this version—there is no cataloguing of the evil stepsisters’ cruelties, and the wicked stepmother keeps out of the picture here. The illustrations of the inanimate objects are much more interesting than the faces, which, particularly in Cinderella’s and the Prince’s case, are empty and lifeless. In fact, only the faces of the stepsisters show any emotion at all. The book is beautifully designed—the title page shows the main character in a frame that looks like an intricate locket, replete with jewels and gold filigree, and the final image shows the prince’s castle and kingdom in the same locket-shaped frame. Each page of text is surrounded by beautifully patterned borders and begins with a flourish on the initial letter. A nice addition to any library or classroom, and a lovely gift book, this is clearly the most elegant of the year’s avalanche. (Fairy tale. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-58717-004-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: NorthSouth
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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