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Walt Disney: Cinderella

Walt Disney: Cinderella

by Cynthia Rylant, Mary Blair (Illustrator)

This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love.

Cinderella's story has been told over and over, but never has it been touched by the kind of magic found in this book. Mary Blair painted the original pictures for Walt Disney's


This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love.

Cinderella's story has been told over and over, but never has it been touched by the kind of magic found in this book. Mary Blair painted the original pictures for Walt Disney's incomparable animated film, and here her elegant art is gathered together as a picture book for the first time. Cynthia Rylant's stories about hardscrabble lives have won not only awards and honors, but hearts. Who better to take a young girl from the darkness of her garret room to the light and brilliance of a ballroom?

Together these two great artists have created something quite astonishing: a Cinderella that is breathtaking, heartrending, and joyous, both for those who are coming to the tale for the very first time, and for those who think they know it well.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is a glorious picture book, well made, with heft and presence. It is the kind of book you might buy for a special child on your list, for the library�s fairy tale collection, or even for your coffee table to read over and over again. Even though Mary Blair worked as a designer for over thirty years with the company, there is not a dressed-up Disney mouse or bluebird in sight. The pictures chosen for this book, from her concepts for the 1950 animated film, are muted, with minimal color, and may appear old-fashioned to today�s young readers more accustomed to princess glitter, but the illustrations are dramatic and rich, perfect for Cynthia Rylant�s telling of the familiar story. This new Cinderella is a breathtaking version that literally makes you stop to read passages again and again. When a fairy godmother appears, she assures the young and lonely girl that �Tears have a wondrous magic about them. They often change everything.� Now Cinderella is �an orphan no more.� What child will not feel comforted by the words that tears can change everything. Of course, in the end, the duke shows up with the glass slipper, and the prince and Cinderella live happily in the palace, but this book is so much more than the fairytale story. Some may choose to use it as an outstanding example of good book design. Students of the art of Mary Blair will treasure it, as will the many fans of the author�s. Cynthia Rylant writes that, after all, this story is about love--a perfect sentiment to share with children. Reviewer: Augusta Scattergood
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4- This retelling of "Cinderella" has been created around Blair's stunning artwork, conceptual pieces originally painted for the Disney animated film. Rylant's narrative has the formal, high-romantic tone of a Victorian romance novel, recasting the tale of a poor orphan girl mistreated by a callous stepmother into "a story about Love." In fact, "Love" appears repeatedly, seeming to take on a personality of its own and dominating every other aspect of the plot. Readers are told that Cinderella "...wished for one thing only: Love." This hammered emphasis, related in sentiment-fraught elevated language, becomes even more prevalent as the narrative continues. When the prince first sees Cinderella: "How does a young man find his maiden? His heart leads him. He finds her in a room. He asks her to dance. And when he touches her, he knows." And so on. There are other minor caveats; for example, the statement, "a child of rags became a vision," does not indicate the nature of the vision or say anything about Cinderella's clothing. The paintings, however, are another story; they are spare and expressionistic, reflecting trends in the art of animation during the 1950s. The darkness of Cinderella's room, the misty blues of the royal castle and rich reds of its interior, the minimalist and energetic lines of the fairy godmother-not even a little bit sentimental, these images are a welcome counterpoint to the overrich text, and may rescue the book from oblivion. Maybe.-Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this "bibbity-bobbity-boo"-less rendition of the classic film's plot, Rylant focuses on larger themes-"Every day Cinderella wished for Love"-rather than characters, crafting a lyrical romance free of sympathetic small animals, songs, much dialogue or even (with the titular exception) names. This interpretation suits the art to a tee. Blair was the original concept designer for the movie (and for many other Disney cartoons), and her color sketches, reproduced here as full-page scenes, have less to do with the small, generic figures in each scene than the flow of line and drapery, the lighting and general look of the costumes, the palace and other sets. The visual connection between these rough pictures and the finished film is tenuous at best, and though unusually perceptive children might be able to make it, this is really more of a spin-off than a tie-in. Its main audience will likely be drawn either by nostalgia, curiosity about the animated filmmaking process, or the enduring appeal of the tale itself. (Fairy tale. 7-11)

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Cynthia Rylant has written more than 100 children's books, from board books and picture books, to chapter books and novels. Rylant won the Newbery Medal for her novel Missing May, and a Newbery Honor for A Fine White Dust. She's also the author of over 20 Henry and Mudge chapter books, and has illustrated her own picture books, including Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven.

Mary Blair (19111978) was one of Walt Disney's most brilliant conceptual designers, helping define the look of such classics as Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953) during her 34 years with the company. She also brought her distinctive, colorful style to children's books, advertisements, theatrical set designs, and theme park attractions.

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