First published in German in 2011 as Aschenputtel, this is a gentle(ish) version of the oft-told tale, with illustrations evocative of the 18th century.
A dying mother tells her daughter that she will look down from heaven upon her, and every day the girl goes to her mother’s grave to weep. Her stepfather remarries, and his new wife’s two daughters scorn the girl and force her to be their servant. When the invitation for the prince’s ball arrives, the stepmother first sets Cinderella an impossible task that friendly birds help her to accomplish. Still denied the ball, Cinderella, weeping, recites a rhyme on her mother’s grave, and a white bird drops down a silver and gold ball gown and silk slippers, one of which she leaves behind in haste and which the prince picks up, triggering the classic search. The first stepsister cannot get her foot in it at all, and the second cuts off a piece of her heel to make it fit. Of course it is Cinderella whom the slipper fits, and “they were happy ever after.” This version neither marries the stepsisters to local nobles nor sends birds to peck out their eyes. The pictures, even to the ship-in-full-sail hairdo on one stepsister, are based on 18th-century patterns and styles, and Cinderella’s dress has a satisfying quantity of gold floral glitter.
This Germanic Cinderella is simple, direct and rather sweet. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)