Glitter and Glam: Transforming the Classic Cinderella into a Stylish Diva (featuring Cinderella: A Fashionable Tale, Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story, and Ella’s Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella)

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Fats here.

We are still celebrating fractured fairy tales, coming of age romances, and love for CYBILS. Last week, I wrote about Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella written by Jewell Reinhart Coburn and illustrated by Eddie Flotte. Today, I have three variants of Cinderella that adults might appreciate more.

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From Pinterest

Before Elsa stole the spotlight when Disney released Frozen, Cinderella was (perhaps still is) popular among little girls and the books were a hit among readers. Check out this article written by Linda Holmes on NPR’s website where she talked about the popularity of Cinderella. It was through Linda’s article that I learned of a book written by Marian Roalfe Cox entitled Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap o’Rushes, Abstracted and Tabulated with a Discussion of Medieval Analogues and Notes. (Whew!) The book was published in 1893 and the copies being sold at Barnes & Noble online are merely excerpts from the original manuscript. The title alone should tell you that Cinderella was something of a character. I mean, 345 variants?! That’s insane!

But I digress.

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From Glamour Daze

The three books I’m sharing in this post pay tribute to fashion. One focuses on 21st century fashion, while the other two celebrate the Jazz age. This website dedicated to 1920s fashion and music describe 1920s fashion as “the perfect blend between style and function. Beautiful clothes that allowed women to move.” Marie Claire provides a list of 18 iconic women that influenced the 1920s style scene. Glamour Daze, on the other hand, discusses the history of women’s fashion from 1920 to 1929.

The picturebooks follow the classic Cinderella story with a “fashion-forward twist.” I thought it would be worth sharing sample pages from these books. These books celebrate not only fashion but also freedom of self-expression.

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Cinderella: A Fashionable Tale

Retold and illustrated by: Steven Guarnaccia
Published by: Abrams Books for Young Readers (2013)
Book borrowed from Lorain Public Library.
Book photos by me.

“There was once a young girl who lived with her cruel stepmother and three stepsisters. Because she was always covered in ashes, her stepsisters teased her and called her Cinderella.”

Five years ago, I wrote about fractured tales of The Three Little Pigs. In that post, I discussed briefly Steven Guarnaccia’s The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale. That was my first encounter with his work.

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Steven Guarnaccia is an associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. His retelling of Cinderella pays homage to the talents of 20th and 21st centuries fashion designers as well as haute couture designs.

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Cinderella’s stylish godfather reminds me of American fashion consultant, Tim Gunn. He is the host of the reality TV show, Project Runway. Fashion enthusiasts will take delight in the illustrations found on the front and back pages of the book. These illustrations feature shoe and clothing designs popularized by some of the world’s fashion designers.

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Like The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale, Cinderella: A Fashionable Tale comes in an oversize picturebook format that is great for young readers who enjoy looking at illustrations. This version is faithful to the original story, with the addition of an electro vacuum cleaner. Heh. Readers might be amused by Steven Guarnaccia’s vibrant and quirky illustrations.

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Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story

Retold by: Lynn Roberts
Illustrated by: David Roberts
Published by: Pavilion Children’s Books (2001)
Book borrowed from Euclid Public Library.
Book photos by me.

“In a time not too long ago and in a land much like our own, there lived a young and beautiful girl. Her name was Greta. She lived alone with her father because her mother had died many years before.”

I included this book in my reading list for Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016. I chose this for Task 11: Read a book under 1oo pages. While I had fun looking at Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations, I really love the illustrations that David Roberts had done in this book. Style and elegance were captured in each page.

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David Roberts also happens to have a background in fashion design. According to the note written on the back of the book, David’s illustrations were inspired by art deco designs. Clothing was not the sole focus of his illustrations. The paintings and background that readers would find in the book were influenced by designs from the 1920s and 1930s.

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The godmother appeared as a “kindly woman” in this variant of Cinderella. In addition, instead of a pumpkin, a large leek was magically transformed into a stylish coupe, and flapper girls filled the royal hall. This may just as well be the Great Gatsby of Cinderella stories.

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♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

 

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Ella’s Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella

Retold and illustrated by: Shirley Hughes
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2003)
Book borrowed from Hudson Library & Historical Society.
Book photos by me.

“Mr. Cinders kept a little dress shop in a quiet but elegant part of town. People came from far and near to buy clothes from him because he made such lovely things.

“His wife had died, leaving him with one daughter, a red-haired girl called Ella whom he loved dearly. He taught her about silks and wools and satins and how to coax them into coats and dresses. So, by and by, she became as good a dressmaker as he was, if not better.”

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Shirley Hughes received the Kate Greenaway Medal for her outstanding illustrations in Ella’s Big Chance. Of the three Cinderella variants, Ella’s Big Chance is my favorite. Shirley Hughes was deserving of the prestigious award. As you can see from the sample photos, the illustrations in this book are more realistic compared to the first two I’ve talked about. Nevertheless, it contains the same elegance as David Roberts’s work.

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“The Fairy Godmother sketched a shape in the air with her umbrella, and suddenly Ella was dressed in a ball dress as light as a silver cobweb, glittering all over with crystal beads, which fitted her perfectly. She wore a tiny silk hat to hide her hair in case she was recognized, silver stockings, and – tap! tap! – a pair of little glass slippers on her feet.”

From the quoted passages alone, one can tell that this version of Cinderella is unique in its own way. Like Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella, Ella’s Big Chance contains the basic elements that make up a traditional Cinderella story. However, Shirley Hughes added extra details that made Ella’s story more interesting. The narrative of this version might be too long for the little ones but it’s still worth checking out.

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Hope you enjoyed today’s feature!
If you know of other unique versions of Cinderella, let me know in the comments box below!

  1. This is lovely, Fats. I am hoping to do a Little Red Special very soon! 🙂

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  2. […] This is one of Read Harder’s easiest tasks, especially since I read a lot of picturebooks. Yay for that! As you may have already seen, I featured this book three days ago. If you missed it, you can read about it here. […]

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  3. […] Cinderella: A Fashionable Tale by Steve Guarnaccia […]

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