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Home | LS5603 Children's and YA Literature | LS6643 Nonfiction for Children and YA
Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper

Cinderella or the little glass slipper Brown, Marcia.  1954.  Cinderella or the little glass slipper.  New York:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers.  ISBN:  0684126761.

In a free translation from the French version by Charles Perrault, Marcia Brown takes Cinderella from sitting by the ashes and working as a maid in her father's household to meeting a Prince and becoming his bride.  This Caldecott Medal winner is at the same time a classic version and a unique retelling.  This version contains all of the famous elements such as the godmother, the stepsisters, and the transformation of animals and inanimate objects into carriages and liverymen, but Brown is able to make it her own with writing that makes the reader feel as if she were whispering of events she had just witnessed a few nights ago.  For example, after two pages of background information, she begins the story of the events of Cinderella with "Now it happened that the king's son was to give a ball."  One immediately senses that the action is about to start!  Since this version was written in 1954, some language does seem dated ("If only they could find stuffs as fine"), but overall it is a timeless classic that will delight children.

Brown's detailed yet indistinct illustrations give a viewer a sense that they are looking through a lense into small glimpses of Cinderella's world.  Brown's unique talent is seen when one notices that the pictures that tell a complete story are made of lines that are incomplete and often only give hints of the forms and a coloring technique that utilizes quite a bit of white space.  Each page offers a new format as some pages are entirely text, some are entirely picture, and some have text that is fitted around illustrations.   The facial expressions of Brown's characters convey volumes not included in the text, and details such as chandeliers and statuary add to the grandeur of Cinderella's entrance at the ball. 

 

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Holly S.
Graduate Student at Texas Woman's University