Cinderella (Anglais) Relié – 18 septembre 2012
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The story of Cinderella here is based on the version published by Charles Perrault and true to the period in which he lived, the illustrations in this book bring to life the grandeur of the French court of King Louis XIV. The illustrations are gorgeous and both my daughter and I were riveted by the wonderful use of colors as well as the ethereal and innocent beauty of Cinderella as portrayed by the artist.
My complaint here is with the storyline, just as the previous reviewer had mentioned - it is stated at the beginning of the story that Cinderella's father had remarried and that his new wife and two stepdaughters treated Cinderella abominably. Now there is no further mention of Cinderella's father after this which led to my daughter asking me, "What happened to the father? How could he have let his new wife be mean to Cinderella?" Children are not adults, and cannot draw conclusions as easily, so it would have been helpful if this had been dealt with in an appropriate manner and made clear to younger readers - be it that the father had died, was busy with travel, or that he was just a weak man who was terrified of his new wife - a child can't make these connections without some help. Also, the father is missing at the wedding! It is mentioned that the stepmother and stepsisters have been invited but no mention of the father. I think this is a noticeable flaw in the storyline, a pity given the illustrations are gorgeous. Just be prepared to address questions from curious children if you pick this one up.
For those who enjoy multicultural re-tellings of Cinderella, I'd recommend:
The Persian Cinderella
The Egyptian Cinderella
The Korean Cinderella (Trophy Picture Books)
Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece
This telling of Cinderella is not "straight" Perrault, but rather a modernized version of his language by Sarah Thomson. The vocab is dumbed down a bit, and some detail is glossed. In fairness, Perrault is a rather challenging author for toddlers to read or hear, so the changes are not inappropriate. However, it is hard to tell who did what, so I personally would like to see Perrault's name featured more prominently on the cover. But this is a minor point, and Perrault will not be complaining any time soon.
The story is well told and has a few great details. The dialogue between the characters is much more fleshed out, and the evil stepsisters are very entertaining. This is a 25 page children's book, so don't expect Mamet, but adults will probably enjoy having a different account of the story than the usual bland Disney waxwork. Of especial note to feminists and royalty buffs is the way that the Prince takes an active and intelligent role in finding the mysterious beauty, making him seem a somewhat more suitable mate for our heroine as compared to the vacuous Ken doll seen in the Disney story.
The art by Nicoletta Ceccoli really makes the book, frilly ethereal oil painting styled illustrations, huge and page-filling. The intricate settings and beautiful backgrounds add much to the story, and the nature of the characters is subtly portrayed in their appearances. Even the wicked characters are not caricatured, and Cinderella and the Prince are charming. Cinderella looks occasionally like a Steve Madden Shoe Ad Girl, but this is only in some pictures, and the little ones won't know or care much about this quirk. All in all, the art is lovely and makes the book special to look at.
This is a great book for toddlers to have read to them, and makes a wonderful alternative to the dimmer-witted and more gauche DIsney variant of the story. Track down the original Perrault for your own entertainment and that of older kids, but this Cinderella is a great book for younger children to hear and then eventually read on their own.
This retelling of the story is based upon the version by Charles Perrault, but since I've never read or seen any versions other than the Disney version, so I can't really compare.
For those who are unfamiliar of the fairy tale, CINDERELLA is about a young girl who is mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. There's a fancy ball that's being thrown by the king and she'd like to go, but since the nasty step family doesn't allow her and keeps her dressed in rags it seems impossible. Enter the fairy godmother who gives Cinderella the chance to experience the ball with one caveat: she must leave by midnight for the magic will wear off. The young waif agrees and is transformed into a stunning beauty. She attends the ball and the handsome prince falls madly in love with her, but she must keep her promise and leaves the ball, when the clock begins to strike midnight, before he can find out who she is.
The illustrations in the book are really nice and they remind me of those Blythe Style dolls from the 70s, which might freak some people out since they're faces are drawn in the Japanese anime style with the ridiculously HUGE eyes.
Anyway, I'm sure any child will enjoy the book and it makes great coffee table book, too, for those interested in illustration and children's art.