The Cinderella story is a perennial favourite and this is an adorable new spin on it. Ella is a little ladybird bullied by her two (literally) waspish older sisters. When they are invited to a very special ball in Paris, she treks along with them to carry their bags but ends up catching the eye of a famous artist who instantly falls in love with her. Since he has organised the Grand Bug Ball himself to find a new artistic inspiration, the stage is set for a familiar story.
One of the things I loved about this reworking of the famous tale is that the connotations of privilege and royalty are replaced by a more meritocratic tale of a smart and unusual Cinderella figure, kind and unselfish without being at all syrupy, finding the right mate and a place where she belongs. That sounds far worthier than it really is. The transposition of the story to Paris gives us an iconic romantic setting with a contemporary twist, deliciously recreated in the pink, yellow and purple colour palate of Alex Smith's pictures with a wealth of witty and humerous details bringing the characters and the city to life. The result is a very endearing blend of Lauren Child-style wackiness with the style of perennially pretty and popular picture books in the Angelina Ballerina and Princess Poppy style.
There's just enough text on each page to keep the story moving along without interfering with the illustrations. Little girls, in particular, will love it - and my big 17 year old daughter did too. Prepare to read this one over and over again.