by Shirley Hughes
48 pages / 2003
Shirley Hughes' unique spin on the story of Cinderella is so very good it improves on the original. Some of that is due to Hughes artwork, and the setting: this is a "Jazz-Age Cinderella" pushing the story forward to the 1920s. Ella and her father run an elegant dress shop, making the finest of clothes. The evil stepmother in this case has some business acumen, and turns the small shop into an even bigger success. But the greater the demand, the more work there is to do for poor Ella.
The story follows along the familiar course of many an other Cinderella version, but with pictures all the more stunning, and a twist at the end in which (SPOILER ALERT!) the love-at-first-sight duke finds his Ella, but doesn't get the girl! This is really what sets this version apart and above - none of this nonsense about knowing someone for an evening and then getting married when next you meet again. Nope, Ella ends up with the store's delivery boy, who has always been there for her, and wanted to be so evermore.
I will add one caution: there is one use made of the term "good heavens," which some view as a substitute oath, and too much like a real blasphemy for their liking. Though I don't agree, I do sympathize, and want to alert readers to its use.
I would give this two very enthusiastic thumbs up, and recommend it highly to anyone who has three- to ten-year-olds. Oh, and this is probably far more a girl book than boy (though I have to say I really liked it too, and I am a boy).
You can buy a copy at Amazon.com by clicking here.