If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella

Overview

If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella takes a fresh look at an old and favorite story. In thirty-three poems it brings to life not only the voices of well-loved characters, but also voices of characters not usually heard from — including the glass slipper, without which the story would not have a happy ending. On the stage set by the story we hear each player tell the tale from their point of view, answering the questions that swirl around Cinderella:
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Overview

If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella takes a fresh look at an old and favorite story. In thirty-three poems it brings to life not only the voices of well-loved characters, but also voices of characters not usually heard from — including the glass slipper, without which the story would not have a happy ending. On the stage set by the story we hear each player tell the tale from their point of view, answering the questions that swirl around Cinderella:
Is the ghost of Cinderella's father at peace in the afterlife? What has made Cinderella's stepmother so cruel? Can a rat be as happy as a human? How do the prince's mother and father feel about Cinderella for their son? Does the Magic One's Magic last forever? Do the glass slippers realize how important a role they play in the life of one girl? Is there a quiet someone, with a gentle purr, who is a secret accomplice? And, finally, what does Cinderella herself have to say to us about her own story?
Through the rhythms of Laura Whipple's poetry and the sweeping colors of Laura Beingessner's artwork, Cinderella's story is spun anew for audiences of all ages to celebrate.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This intriguing work reenvisions the time-honored tale of midnight magic as a strand of narrative poems. Beginning with Cinderella in her old age, first-time author Whipple gives voice to the cast of characters, from the remorseful father, now a ghost, to the unrepentantly greedy, grasping stepmother (Ah, rich, rich, rich. I love the rhythm of rich!), and stepsisters (While we're dancing, sleep in ashes and brush the soot from off your lashes). Readers hear from the fairy godmother and the royal family as well, including the besotted prince (Wait! Who's that? Smile like moonbeams on a splashing spring). Whipple renders moments of melancholy (Father comes to my dreams, though he is gone. ... It seems right to dry tears with sackcloth and ashes says Cinderella) as fully as comic touches (e.g., the rat-turned-coachman cries, Where was my tail, long and slim, a-switching? Totally gone! Just a memory of motion) even the glass slipper gets a turn (I grieve for the glow of my mate). This fresh, engaging presentation of the Cinderella story unfolds like a lyric opera. Larded with wit, the volume returns to Cinderella, who offers up a sage gem: The music of true Magic sang only that once for me. After, I had to compose the music of my life. Beingessner alternates small inset portraits and vignettes with full-spread paintings of the godmother's gifts and the climactic moment at the ball; her swirling line and color conjure up the story's magical setting. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A now "old and quiet" Cinderella, "content with memories," opens a series of poems to lend fresh insight into a familiar, traditional tale as she recalls her youthful experiences. Each poem is told from a different perspective and in different but appropriate cadence and form. Voices that one expects to hear are included¾the jealous stepmother, the dictatorial stepsisters, and the tortured voice of Cinderella's father, now a ghost, who admits he married a tricky woman in haste. Different perspectives are provided to lend a new twist to the tale. It was the garden cat that called the magical godmother. Each of two glass slippers, when separated, provides a glimpse into how they felt, one hidden in a pocket, the other abandoned. Stylized gouache paintings add characterization and create a sense of 17th century France to complement and extend the rhythmic verse. This unusual collection concludes with "Cinderella's Coda," which advises the reader, "Once upon your own time,/you will sing your own tale..../Gather your life/and go." 2002, Margaret McElderry Books,
— Maria Salvadore
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An imaginative extension of the classic fairy tale and an interesting examination of point of view. In 33 poems, readers hear from the evil stepmother, the prince, the fairy godmother, the ghost of Cinderella's father-even the rat who becomes the coachman. Cinderella herself begins and ends the book. In the prelude, she speaks as an elderly woman. "I remember the voices of my young life/like melodies on sheets of song/long stored in a dusty box./I bring some out for you." Whipple finds story and emotion in unlikely places. For example, each of Cinderella's shoes speaks ("I was born for dancing/and the warmth of small feet"). Each one pines to be reunited with the other in a way that reflects the prince's search for Cinderella. The smooth writing has a relaxed, conversational flow. Luminous gouache paintings use soft, clear colors and flowing lines to present scenes in an attractive and traditional way. This book has excellent potential for classroom use, both for creative-writing activities and for reading aloud. It will also be enjoyed by children who simply love the story. It's satisfying to see a fresh take on a European folktale that isn't a parody. Gwen Strauss's Trail of Stones (Knopf, 1990; o.p.) also treats folktales poetically, but is for an older audience and covers several different stories rather than just one.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A deeply satisfying version of the Cinderella tale, in the story-in-verse form that has become so popular in the past few years. The voices and point-of-view change, as do the verse structures, but the traditional story propels itself in slightly darker and more nuanced complexity throughout. It opens with an elderly Ella, and then the ghost of her father, who married again too soon after the death of his wife. The spiteful and bitter voice of the stepmother clangs harshly; the sweet and daffy one of the godmother is heard making a list for the ball. The king wants to cease ruling and study his butterflies; the prince is lonely and morose. It's the cat-in feline, mysterious wordplay-who is the link between Ella and the godmother; there's a funny poem about how the rat feels in coachman form; and a curiously touching one in the Queen's voice, wondering how to welcome Ella, and what to do about the stepsisters. Beingessner's fluid images, from full pages to tiny vignettes, capture in their agitated line and fine color the intensity of the text. The questions everyone asks-did they live happily ever after? What about the magic?-remain unanswered: "Once upon your own time, / you will sing your own tale. / You will have your own / ticking clocks and / chiming bells and / enchantments, you know. / Gather your life / and go." (Folktale/poetry. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689840708
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: FIRST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 493,039
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Cinderella's Prelude

Father's Ghost

Stepmother's Rhythm

Cinderella's Mourning

Garden Master

Stepmother's New Rhythm

The King's Command

Cinderella Alone

The Stepsisters' Promise

Cinders and Scraps

Messenger Cat

Magic-Her

Garden Magic

Hunter Cat

Blossoming

The Prince Grumbles

Cinderella's Waltz

Running

The Rat's Ride

Guest Gossip

The Prince's Regret

Second Thoughts

Cinderella's Slipper

The Prince's Quandary

The Other Slipper

Feet

The Stepsisters' Reprise

Congratulations

Blessings

Cinderella's Doubt

The Queen's Doubts

Father's Peace

Cinderella's Coda

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Introduction

ABOUT THE BOOK

This book takes a fresh look at an old and favorite story. In thirty-three poems it brings to life not only the voices of well-loved characters but also voices of characters not usually heard from — including the glass slipper, without which the story would not have a happy ending.

THEMES

Poetry; Fairy tales; Family

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

? After reading "Cinderella's Coda" did she live happily ever after? Is that important? What ending would be happily ever after?

? How does the poetry make the fairy tale different from other versions? Or does it?

? Where does the author add humor? What do the humorous characters add to the story? What about the cat? How are his poems different from the others?

? Why is Cinderella's father's spirit close by?

ACTIVITIES

? Choose another fairy tale and list the characters and major objects. Would the tale you choose be able to be told in poetry? Try your hand in telling the story with poetry.

? Act out the story using these poems as the dialogue.

? Bring an extra pair of shoes. Have students exchange one of their shoes with another student. Then write a story about the shoe and how it feels to be left alone.

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Julie Tomlianovich

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

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Reading Group Guide

ABOUT THE BOOK

This book takes a fresh look at an old and favorite story. In thirty-three poems it brings to life not only the voices of well-loved characters but also voices of characters not usually heard from — including the glass slipper, without which the story would not have a happy ending.

THEMES

Poetry; Fairy tales; Family

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

€ After reading "Cinderella's Coda" did she live happily ever after? Is that important? What ending would be happily ever after?

€ How does the poetry make the fairy tale different from other versions? Or does it?

€ Where does the author add humor? What do the humorous characters add to the story? What about the cat? How are his poems different from the others?

€ Why is Cinderella's father's spirit close by?

ACTIVITIES

€ Choose another fairy tale and list the characters and major objects. Would the tale you choose be able to be told in poetry? Try your hand in telling the story with poetry.

€ Act out the story using these poems as the dialogue.

€ Bring an extra pair of shoes. Have students exchange one of their shoes with another student. Then write a story about the shoe and how it feels to be left alone.

This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Julie Tomlianovich

© William Allen White Children's Book Award

Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2003

    A neat exploration of the Cinderella story

    The author forces the reader to reexplore the Cinderella legend from the perspectives of all the other major characters in the story. I thik this is a great way to look more deeply at the common thread that the Cinderella story has for all people. The reader can look at each character's reaction to the events of the story and think about their motivation for treating Cinderella as they do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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