Cinderlily: A Floral Fairy Tale


Where have all the flowers gone? They’re dancing up a storm in this whimsical, wondrous rendition of a well-known fairy tale, created by the one and only David Ellwand.

For hours beneath the velvet sky they dance without a care,
Until the clock chimes midnight . . . then she’s no longer there!
Just a single lily petal and her fragrance in the air.

One magic night, a poor ...

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Where have all the flowers gone? They’re dancing up a storm in this whimsical, wondrous rendition of a well-known fairy tale, created by the one and only David Ellwand.

For hours beneath the velvet sky they dance without a care,
Until the clock chimes midnight . . . then she’s no longer there!
Just a single lily petal and her fragrance in the air.

One magic night, a poor cinder girl is granted an impossible wish. It may be the most familiar of tales, but under the inimitable wand of David Ellwand, this timeless story blooms as never before. Here, the innocent heroine is a delicate flower, a lily whose faded petals spring to new life as she arrives at the Sultan’s ball in a butterfly-drawn coach. When the smitten Prince sets out in search of the shy, retiring flower who has vanished into thin air, leaving but a petal behind, it’s clear that Cinderlily’s comically garish, pansy-faced stepsisters won’t stand a chance.

With singular vision, humor, and a touch of computer magic, David Ellwand directs a delightfully expressive cast of flowers in a breathtaking production sure to enchant lovers of fairy tales - and lovers of flowers, too.

Flowers represent all the characters in this version of the classic fairy tale, which is presented in the form of a ballet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aided by his computer, Ellwand (Fairie-ality) fashions actual flowers into fairy-tale characters for this visually striking Cinderella story. The elegantly designed book imitates a stage show: a pair of ivy leaves serves as classical comedy and tragedy masks, and oversize daylily petals become orange curtains framing a midnight-black proscenium. Tagg's (previously paired with Ellwand on Metal Mutz!) breathy rhymes begin with the announcement of the Sultan's Autumn Ball: "One bedraggled flower hears/ The news and gives a sigh./ Her name is Cinderlily,/ And she's beautiful but shy." For Cinderlily, photographer Ellwand turns a flower upside down and rearranges its parts: her upper torso is a green stamen, and she has no face other than the stamen's plain brown top. Her skirts are pale lily petals that have dried and curled at the tips, while her feet are pollen-dusted filaments. Her fancier sisters have violet-and-white pansy-bloom faces and ruffled skirts made from voluminous pink blossoms. With the fairy's arrival, Cinderlily's skirts rehydrate and turn a moist white, and butterflies pull her pumpkin coach. Soon she meets the Sultan, who sports ballooning purple pants made of iris flags. At midnight, Cinderlily darts away, leaving behind "just a single lily petal." As Ellwand manipulates flowers to resemble graceful dancers (Cinderlily's leaps are modeled on Olga Korbut's), fanciful script lettering, delicate stencils and subtle page borders give the production the look of a wedding invitation. Fans of Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers's fruit-and-vegetable extravaganzas will appreciate this floral cousin. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Designer and creator Ellwand deserves top billing for this three-act floral production of the beloved Cinderella story. Combining his experience in floral photography with digital wizardry and a whimsical creative streak, he makes each character from a flower stem. Cinderella is a lily and the Sultan wears purple iris bloomers and a red petal crown. Tagg's "libretto" tells the story in jaunty verse. The pansy-faced stepsisters gloat, "And as for you there, Cinderlily, you simply cannot come. You'll stay right here and clean the house while we are having fun." A deep black backdrop on every page effectively highlights brilliant petal dresses and the delicacy of dancing stem legs with bud feet. As Cinderlily flees the ball at midnight, her lily skirt withers in detail vivid enough to touch. The faceless Cinderlily and Sultan leave much to the imagination, perhaps too much for some children. But this innovative approach stimulates the reader to envision characters and the natural world in new ways. Children easily see the world as animate, and this story will draw them into the garden to find their favorite characters. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 9.
— Ann Philips
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this visually intriguing twist on the traditional tale, Ellwand has replaced the human protagonists with flowers. Using Adobe Photoshop, he has arranged lilies, pansies, tulips, roses, and other petals in graceful poses against stark black backgrounds. While the pictures are technically well executed, it is unlikely they will engender other than a passing interest in children. Tagg's text, written in reasonably well-rhymed couplets, is thin on plot, character development, and imagery. In addition, the alterations she makes in the original tale are incongruous. The prince has become a Sultan, but nonetheless the "band strikes up a waltz" at his Royal Autumn Ball. The fonts, which change frequently in an apparent attempt to match the action of the story, are often hard to read, particularly when placed against those black backgrounds. For a more effective use of natural objects as characters, stay with Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffer's How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods (Scholastic, 1999).-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Waving his digital wand, Ellwand poses balletic figures made from flower parts against black backgrounds for an uncommonly elegant, theatrical rendition of the fairy tale. Just an upended stem with slender, graceful lily stamens for limbs and a twist of dried petals for dress, Cinderlily arrives at the Sultan's palace in a pumpkin coach with sunflower wheels; those petals open to dazzling white curls as she enters, and she leaves one behind when they revert at midnight. In the pared-down plot, the Sultan, quite dashing in his iris-petal pantaloons, quickly tracks Cinderlily down, upon which her stepsisters, instead of suffering just deserts, merely slip offstage. Written in stumbling meter and printed in a set of ornate typefaces, the text doesn't measure up to the inventive art-but children will know how the story goes anyway. An eye-catcher. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763623289
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.12 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine Tagg says, "I have always loved the idea of giving a traditional fairy tale an unusual twist, and when I first saw David’s amazing theatrical flower pictures I knew this was the perfect opportunity to let my imagination bloom! Gardening will never be the same again." The author of METAL MUTZ!, also illustrated by David Ellwand, she lives in West Yorkshire, England, with her daughter, two cats, two mice, and ten guinea pigs.

David Ellwand is the creator and photographer of FAIRIE-ALITY: THE FASHION COLLECTION FROM THE HOUSE OF ELLWAND, a spectacular and award-winning book of fashions for fairies. Previously he collaborated with Christine Tagg on METAL MUTZ!, a pop-up book of clever dog sculptures that were first constructed out of scrap metal and then photographed. Of CINDERLILY, he says, "This book is the realization of a vision I had about five years ago, informed by many years of photographing flowers, the continuing use of natural materials in my work, and the marvels of modern computer technology. All the poses are based on actual ballet and gymnastic moves - Cinderlily’s jumps are based on the great Olga Korbut!

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