Review by Kristen Bentley
A bit about the author: Kristen is a High school English teacher since 1994. Mother of two and professional writer with a Master’s degree in education. She loves to read, travel, watch baseball, and watch her children play sports, too.
The classic fairy tale, Cinderella, is told for today’s audience. Beginning with the background of Cinderella’s family situation, the story moves through the sad state of her life. The artistic renderings of the step-sisters, step-mother, and Cinderella bring the story to life for a new audience of young readers.
Beautiful Drawings Show the Relationships in the Story
As readers move through Cinderella’s story, they will see in the drawings how Cinderella is treated so poorly by her step-sisters. They will also see that Cinderella can still find joy in the small things in her life, like when she helps tie her step-sister’s dress. It is obvious that Cinderella deserves much more in her life and parents should be ready to answer questions about why Cinderella’s father does not help her move out of the situation.
Since most people know the Disney version of the Cinderella story, it is nice to see a slightly different version in the Cinderella from iStoryBooks.co site. What is refreshing is that the step-sisters are not necessarily mean to her, like they are in the Disney version; instead, they just ignore her. When the invitation to the ball is announced the step-sisters do not push and shove Cinderella out of the way, but simply hear the invitation and start to make plans. It is also pleasant to see the step-sisters just get on the carriage to go to the ball and not rip up Cinderella’s dress.
Readers Can See Cinderella’s Sadness
Another pleasant surprise in the story is that the reader is able to get into Cinderella’s emotional state of mind. When she is lying in bed and thinking about how much she misses her mother, the reader is really able to understand the sadness that exists in Cinderella. Another special touch in the story is when the Fairy Godmother flies into Cinderella’s window and the text describes the Fairy Godmother as “beautiful” despite the fact that she appears as an older woman with a full figure. This is a nice lesson for children to see that a grandmotherly woman can be described as beautiful.
Looking for Special Details in the Images
Even though the story is so familiar, the images share special details. Everyone who knows the story is aware that mice are changed into horses to drive Cinderella’s carriage and this story is no different. What is so endearing about the images is that the horses have heads that look like they can from mice. Once Cinderella arrives at the ball, it is fun to see that no one recognizes her – even her step-sisters. It would be a fun activity for young readers to look for other special details in each illustration.
True to the story Cinderella loses her glass slipper when she leaves the ball at midnight. Also true to the story, all of the women in the kingdom try on the slipper when the King’s men visit each house to find Cinderella. Once the shoe fits, the Prince comes to collect Cinderella and they live happily ever after.
Useful Compare and Contrast Lesson
Fairy tales are an important part of early childhood education and this story would be useful in a compare and contrast lesson with the Disney version of the story. The children could learn to look for similarities and differences in the images and in the character interactions. Teachers would not have to show the entire Cinderella movie, but just clips that match with the decidedly different pages in the iStoryBooks.co version.
Inferring About the Backstory
The backstory with Cinderella and her mother and father would make for an interesting lesson in inference. Children can work with what is in the story and what is not in the story to try to figure out what happened to Cinderella’s mother. They can also use inference to try to figure out why Cinderella’s father does not take an active role to help his daughter.
Learning About the Benefits of Good Behavior and Patience
It can also be nice for teachers and parents to share the fact that Cinderella did her work without complaining. Since it seemed like there was nothing she could do, she did her best to make the most of the situation and to find joy in small things. Children can learn about work ethic. They can also learn about listening to elders. Cinderella listened to the Fairy Godmother’s instructions and left the ball when she was instructed to leave. Cinderella’s good behavior pays off in the end, when she gets to marry Prince Charming and live happily every after. The idea of good things coming to those who wait is certainly true when it comes to Cinderella’s story.