Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella

Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella

by Shirley Hughes
     
 

The classic story of Cinderella gains even more charm in this glamorous retelling by world-famous picture book writer and illustrator Shirley Hughes.
Ella Cinders loves helping her father in his dress shop and laughing with her friend Buttons, the store's delivery boy. Then comes the terrible day when her father remarries and everything changes. Her stepmother

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Overview

The classic story of Cinderella gains even more charm in this glamorous retelling by world-famous picture book writer and illustrator Shirley Hughes.
Ella Cinders loves helping her father in his dress shop and laughing with her friend Buttons, the store's delivery boy. Then comes the terrible day when her father remarries and everything changes. Her stepmother makes her sew in the dreary basement. Her stepsisters mock her shabby dress. And to top it off, the new Mrs. Cinders forbids Ella to attend the duke's grand ball. Heartbroken, Ella is sure that her life will never be what she dreamed. But with the help of a fairy godmother and some sparkling courage of her own, this Cinderella discovers that dreams can come true in the most unexpected of ways.
Join Ella amidst the dazzle and fashion of the roaring twenties as she takes happily ever after into her own hands!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Hughes (the Olly and Me series) updates a classic with flapper fashions and an unexpected finish. Red-haired Ella Cinders and her father run their own dress shop, along with their delivery man, Buttons. When Mr. Cinders remarries Madame Ren e (who "seemed to pop up from nowhere like a sharp-eyed, expensively dressed jack-in-the-box"), Ella's life takes a miserable turn as she endures the taunts of her lazy stepsisters, and Mr. Cinders gets "far too much under his wife's thumb to interfere." The length of this jaunty, if sometimes clicheed, retelling, as well as some of the vocabulary ("languid," "divan") and British colloquialisms may prove daunting to a younger audience. However, Hughes's fluid lines and bright colors contribute to illustrations with such graceful movement that they might have been inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's movies, as well as by 1920s French couture. Pen-and-inks ornament each framed block of text, and depict either a preceding or subsequent scene to the action shown in the larger full-color illustrations. Most of the tale stays true to the original, but a twist at the end may well leave readers admiring the sprightly heroine in Hughes's version. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
By adding a twist to a familiar tale, Hughes comes up with a winner. She accomplishes this with illustrations that dazzle and text that sings out the story. The wispy illustrations possess a dreamy quality and include fashions resembling French gowns of the 1920s. Changes from the original story include the transformation of a bike into a limo for the ride to the ball, the change of a frazzled cat into a handsome chauffer, and the covering of Ella's hair with a frilly lace hat in order to keep her identity a secret. At the ball, the Duke, not a prince, courts Ella. The familiar element where Ella's foot fits the glass slipper remains. However, Ella politely declines the Duke's marriage proposal. It is here that she demonstrates the right of a woman to make her own decisions as she chooses her attentive, sweet boyfriend over the Duke. This first-rate book is highly deserving of its Kate Greenway medal. Readers of all ages will enjoy it. 2005 (orig. 2003), Simon & Schuster, Ages 5 to 8.
—Nancy Garhan Attebury
Kirkus Reviews
Few illustrators could so stylishly dress up the tale of Cinderella with the dash and glitter of the roaring '20s as Hughes has done here with aplomb. Ella and her father, Mr. Cinders, are fashionable dressmakers who run a shop with the help of Buttons, a young man who serves as doorman and delivery boy. When Mr. Cinders remarries a woman with two daughters, happy days are over, as Madame Renee takes over the shop, Ruby and Pearl model the clothes, and all three treat Ella spitefully. The anticipated transformation takes place; a Mary Poppins-like Fairy Godmother taps her umbrella, turning cat into chauffeur and Buttons's delivery bike into limo. The ball scenes (inspired by Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies), sparkle and the surprise ending is a cunning twist. The book design is also stylish, with text in boxed rectangles with petite ancillary black-and-white drawings underscoring the drama. Hughes has added shimmer to her familiar pen-and-gouache style and elegantly fashioned a delightful, revisionist fairy tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689873997
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
01/28/2005
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.34(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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