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ELLA’S BIG CHANCE by Shirley Hughes


A Jazz-Age Cinderella

by Shirley Hughes & illustrated by Shirley Hughes

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-87399-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Few illustrators could so stylishly dress up the tale of Cinderella with the dash and glitter of the roaring ’20s as Hughes has done here with aplomb. Ella and her father, Mr. Cinders, are fashionable dressmakers who run a shop with the help of Buttons, a young man who serves as doorman and delivery boy. When Mr. Cinders remarries a woman with two daughters, happy days are over, as Madame Renee takes over the shop, Ruby and Pearl model the clothes, and all three treat Ella spitefully. The anticipated transformation takes place; a Mary Poppins–like Fairy Godmother taps her umbrella, turning cat into chauffeur and Buttons’s delivery bike into limo. The ball scenes (inspired by Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies), sparkle and the surprise ending is a cunning twist. The book design is also stylish, with text in boxed rectangles with petite ancillary black-and-white drawings underscoring the drama. Hughes has added shimmer to her familiar pen-and-gouache style and elegantly fashioned a delightful, revisionist fairy tale. (Picture book. 4-8)