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August 10, 2016

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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

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If the Shoe Fits

The new live-action Cinderella hit theaters last weekend, and I know I am not the only one excited to see the sparkling blue dress from her childhood become a live-action reality! It never ceases to amaze me how one of the oldest stories (there is a version dating from 7 BCE!) is still so popular today. Most people think of it as a European fairy tale, but versions of it can be found all over the world. One story is from to China and another version is included in One Thousand and One Nights. In more recent times, the story has been adapted into a number of retellings, to the point that it seems you can’t have a fairy tale retelling without including a Cinderella reference somewhere. I wanted to share a few of my favorite books that do surprising things with the tale and show how diverse Cinderella can be!


 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is only loosely a Cinderella tale. It is about two sisters: one who is kind and one who is, well…not. The king disguises himself in order to discover their true natures. Of course he chooses Nyasha, the good one, to become the next queen. I bring it up because, while it is missing stepmothers, enchanted mice, and glass slippers, it is still described as a Cinderella story in almost every description I’ve ever read. The story hails from Zimbabwe, and the illustrations in this Caldecott Honor book are amazing!

 


I think it would be impossible for me to write a blog about Cinderella without including Ella Enchanted. This is one of my all-time favorite books! Ella is cursed. If you give her a direct command, she has to obey. This proves to be problematic when her mother dies and her neglectful father marries a despicable woman with two awful daughters. The thing I love about this fairy tale is that Ella is no silly girl who just wants to go to a ball. No, she runs away from boarding school, takes on vicious ogres, speaks a bunch of languages, and tries to solve her own problems in a spunky but genuine way. If you’ve seen the movie, but haven’t read the book…you’re really missing out. The book is nothing like the movie, which is a very good thing.

 

Welcome to the Cinderella of the future! This Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Bejing who loses a whole foot, not just a glass slipper. Need I say more? Cinder is one of the most popular YA books at the moment, which just goes to show that Cinderella as a trope is not getting old.


 

Then, of course, there’s the Cinderella who is currently gracing the silver screen. To bring the movie magic home, readers are turning to the movie novelization and dancing until the stroke of midnight!

 

You can find these versions and others at scholastic.com/clubs now!

 

About the Author: Darcy Evans works on the Firefly and SeeSaw Reading Club catalogs. On a perfect day, you can catch her curled up with a book and a strong cup of tea or hiking in the mountains. She doesn’t recommend doing both at the same time unless you like scraped knees and stubbed toes.

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March 20, 2015