Book Cover
Title Cinderella
Author Charles Perrault
Illustrated By ---
Publisher Derrydale Books - 1980
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title Cinderella
Author Charles Perrault
Illustrated By Walt Disney
Publisher Random House - 1974
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title The Book of Goodnight Stories
Author Vratislav Stovicek
Illustrated By Karel Franta
Publisher Royce Publications - 1982
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title My Wonderful Gift Book of Fairy Tales
Author ---
Illustrated By ---
Publisher Playmore Inc. ---
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title Grimm's Fairy Tales
Author J.L.C & W.C. Grimm
Illustrated By Arthur Rackman
Publisher International Collector's Library - 2004
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title Grimm's Fairy Tales
Author J.L.C & W.C. Grimm
Illustrated By Leonard Weisgard
Publisher Nelson Doubleday - 1954
First Printing ---
Category Children
Warnings None
Main Characters Cinderella
Main Elements Fairy Tale




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The classic tale all children have grown up with, whether it be through one of these books, or through a movie, such as the one produced by Disney.

The story begins with a young girl whose mother passes away. Her father remarries, but his new wife is cruel to her stepdaughter, and the two stepsisters even more so. They take away the girl's pretty clothes and make her clean the house and sleep in the cinders and ashes of the fireplace at night. Thus her name, Cinderella or Aschenputtel. Then, it is announced that there is a grand ball being held at the palace, the prince is looking for a wife. With some magical help the girl is able to go, but at midnight, she must return home before the enchantment wears off. In her haste, she loses a shoe, which the prince then uses to find the woman he has fallen in love with.

Now some of you might be wondering about the Aschenputtel part. Well the tale of Cinderella itself is as old as time. If you look it up on Wikipedia you can find tales from Ancient Greece that are very similar in nature. Charles Perrault is credited with the story we know best. The one where Cinderella is helped by a fairy godmother and she loses a glass slipper as she escapes home. But an interesting bit of trivia about the nature of that shoe. When Perrault wrote the story, the shoe was made of something called "vair", a french word for a type of grey fur from what might be a squirrel. But in french, the word for glass, "verre" is pronounced the same way, and Perrault made the switch from one to the other. Interesting how things work that way!

But back to Aschenputtel. She is the Cinderella of the Brother's Grimm. I always thought they were the original authors of the tale, but having read it, it turns out to be wildly different. There is no fairy godmother, instead there is a magical tree growing above the girl's mother's grave, and the birds that live in the tree help her whenever she is in need. And of course, the tone of the story is much more...well...grim. When the ugly stepsisters couldn't fit their feet into the shoe made of gold (not glass), so one cut off her toe, the other cut off her heel. The prince discovers the deception by noticing the blood flowing out of the shoe (eww). Finally it ends with the sister's having their eyes pecked out by birds. One can see why Disney might have chosen Perrault's version...

As an aside, there are a couple of questions I never did quite understand. Like why did Cinderella's father allow this treatment of his daughter? What kind of wimp couldn't stand up to his wife in this regard? And how much in love could the prince really have been if he couldn't recognize the face of his dream wife, and even more so, confused the ugly sisters for her? Ah well, if fairy tales made sense they would loose some of their magic no?

Though one last comment...Cinderella is a tale of rags to riches, something inspiring for young girls, that even if they are poor or mistreated they may still one day find themselves a handsome prince to marry...but only if you also happen to be the most beautiful girl in the land! Is there ever a fairy tale where the ugly girl gets the prince? I've been reading a lot lately and haven't found one yet, unless she was enchanted and her beauty hidden, or if the prince was being punished for something and has to suffer his wife's uncomely face. Looks like there's not much hope for us average looking girls *sigh*.

Ah, almost forgot the review the books themselves! Well, the first is the most beautiful. The illustrations are stunning and the story follows Perraults version very closely. I have several books in this series and I love them all. The second is based on the Disney movie. As the story itself is short, Disney had to add a few things, like talking mice and the whole 'Bibity-bopity-boo" part, but otherwise the story too is quite accurate. The third is set up such that every day of the year has a short story to read, thus the stories tend to be abridged. Cinderella spanned a couple days so not much was left out. The fourth has 4 other classic tales in it. I don't care for the artwork as much, the eyes can be kind of creepy, but I still have fond memories of it. The second to last is a very recent purchase. The publisher has a large collection of classics, all published in the same small hardcover format. And the very last one, must have belong to perhaps my mother or my elder brother before it came into my hands, I like this edition too but it doesn't belong to as big as set as the other.

And of course I should add that if you want to read the stories yourself, but can't buy a book version, you can find both Perrault's and Grimm's fairy tales on Project Gutenberg.




Posted: February 2011

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