A “Cinderella” retelling illustrated in a combination of cutaway silhouettes and painted pages.
The story, told simply in bare outline with no inflection nor energy, is not the point in this version of the Cinderella tale. It is based on both Perrault’s and the Grimms’ tellings, according to an introductory note. The point of this small volume, published in Great Britain in 2013, is the wondrous fine if slightly mechanical illustrations. The endpapers are framed in a marvelous curlicued frieze of pumpkins and vines that surrounds a spike-heeled glass slipper. Within the book, every other page is a cut-paper image in a solid matte color, made to work whether it overlays the left- or right-hand page. The non–cut-paper pages are done in pale hues and feature pleasingly repetitive patterns of trees, floral motifs, and so on. For instance, as Cinderella and the Prince dance, first the cut-paper page places them against the ballroom backdrop on recto, and then, when readers turn it, they appear between a beaming king and queen and crabby stepsisters on the verso. The stepsisters are described as ugly and are certainly mean, but in the end, Cinderella forgives them, has them as bridesmaids, and everyone lives happily ever after.
The whole is attractive visually but seems far more like the kind of gift book adults like to give to one another than a version that children might enjoy. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-9)