"The best children's stories are wisdom dipped in art and words." -Peter Reynolds

Monday, February 17, 2014


Cinderella was translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown but originally written by the French Charles Perrault. First published in 1955, Perrault’s enchanting French story line combined with Brown’s magical illustrations makes for a classic Cinderella fairy tale.
          The story line is very old-fashioned but with a few unique differences. Cinderella assists the Godmother in gathering the pumpkin and animals for her outfit and carriage. She also goes to the ball two nights instead of one and leaves her slipper behind on the second night. The rest of the story is very traditional which I found comforting. Brown’s translation of Perrault’s writing is fantastic. It is evident that this story was not first written in English and that it was written many years ago. This old, extremely detailed language gives the book a classic feel that goes hand-in-hand perfectly with this Cinderella story. However, it definitely lacks diversity. But I feel like that is a common pattern within fairy tales.
                Brown’s illustrations are full bleed and throw us right into the story. They are like nothing I've seen before. The amount of white left in the pictures is very unique and makes the illustrations blend in very well with the text on each page. The colors used are mostly a pastel blue, pink, yellow, and green. Her illustrations look as if they were drawn with a black marker first and then painted later which gives them a very real, almost non-fiction appeal. As beautiful as the illustrations are, they are not colorful enough for my taste, though they fit very well with this text.  
               I would like to have my students study this text with Walt Disney’s Cinderella retold by Cynthia Rylant. We will compare/contrast the story elements, illustrations, and author styles. I would also like to have them compare/contrast this book with the very culturally diverse Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal. All three versions of the classic Cinderella fairy tale are so incredibly different. I think this text would be best suited for grades 3-5 because of the elaborate vocabulary and descriptive language. Although is it beautifully written, most of my second graders would have a difficult time reading it independently.

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