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Ella Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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Top customer reviews
The illustrations are beautiful, the story charming. Highly recommended!
(Just one little personal gripe at the words in bold though - there were far too many and it unnecessarily emphasized words which detracted from the storytelling).
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.
This is a safe buy as a bedtime storybook. It takes about five minutes to read out loud, and it is full of excellent artwork. Children will in most cases love to hear it repeatedly and want to read it for themselves too so while it may be a short story, you can expect to get good value out of it. Suitable for an age range of perhaps 3 to 8, perhaps a little older.
It makes for a less frilly girly saccharine version of the story than Disney's Cinderella, for example, and this will appeal to many. My daughter didn't like the spider, which rather detracted from the story for her, but I quite enjoyed the variation.
I'm sure everyone knows the story of Cinderella and the book obviously follows the story but replaces Cinderella with Ella the ladybird and the wicked stepsisters with well the wicked stepsisters but in wasp form as Belladonna and Ivy. They are invited to the Grand Big Ball and insist on Ella going with them but only to carry their bags!
The illustrations are beautifully done with nice big writing on the pages for your child to follow the story along as you read it. A lovely lovely book, perfect for little ones.
The illustrations in the book are lovely, and the text is nicely set out and clear to read. The book is bed time story length and a nice change from rhyming text. There is, however, one part in the story in the middle where the story seemed to jump strangely - Pierre sends out word for everyone to try the sparkly glasses that are the slipper substitute in this story and there seemed to be a missing line or two as even my child noticed that it wasn't clear how the ugly sisters knew where to go. That apart it's a nice book, that we read regularly.
This is not a book that I think we will be learning off by heart but we like it. I should think this book is ideal for the 3-6 age group, particularly for girls whose mums will probably enjoy the fact that though this heroine gets her guy at the end she's no pink frilly princess.
It's a creative, albeit fairly loose, reworking of the classic Cinderella story, with all the main characters as different insects and the glass slipper changed for a sparkly pair of glasses.
Cinderella becomes the ladybird Ella, the two ugly stepsisters, Belladonna and Ivy are wasps, Prince Charming is transformed into a successful French artist spider called Pierre and the fairy godmother, is Ella's friend Mrs Buzzbottom (we got a few 3 year old and 5 year old giggles out of that name I'm ashamed to say!)
As an adult, it felt as if the characters were wonderfully developed, but that the plot was a little scant - almost as though some of the sentences had been cut to keep the page numbers down. Having said all that, my children didn't seem to notice and certainly there were only giggles of glee and shouts for more!
It is imaginative and light-hearted and has been beautifully illustrated; my girls particularly love the shiny red detailing on the front cover.
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