Title: CINDERLILY: A FLORAL FAIRY TALE
Author: Christine Tagg
Illustrator: David Ellwand
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2003
This book is a Cinderella variant featuring beautiful photographs of flowers as the various characters in the tale. The book features Cinderlily (Cinderella), two sisters (the stepsisters), a fairy godmother, and the Sultan (the prince). Cinderlily and the Sultan meet at a ball and dance. Cinderlily loses one of her petals when she leaves as the clock strikes midnight. The Sultan seeks the one maiden whom the petal fits and the two live happily ever after.
This Cinderella variant includes some interesting features. First, the book is written in three acts so it lends itself well to comparison with drama and dramatic elements. Second the photographs which compose the illustrations are beautiful in both their simplicity and their clarity. Third, the scientific naming of the flowers at the end of the text open the investigation toward various science lessons including classification, botany, and horticulture.
This Cinderella variant is missing the prototypical “evil” stepmother and the stepsisters are simply replaced by two sisters. However this text features many of the characteristics of the Cinderella tale including the prince, the ball, and the lost item; in this text the prince is a Sultan and the lost item is a petal rather than a slipper.
My biggest complaint is that the text is very difficult to read. The backgrounds are frequently black and the font type is more cursive style than serif or non-serif. Also the type font is small. It would be a difficult book for a younger reader to read simply due to the type font but it makes a good read aloud. Also, although I found the illustrations to be enchanting, I don’t think they would hold the attention of a younger child.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-In this visually intriguing twist on the traditional tale, Ellwand has replaced the human protagonists with flowers. Using Adobe Photoshop, he has arranged lilies, pansies, tulips, roses, and other petals in graceful poses against stark black backgrounds. While the pictures are technically well executed, it is unlikely they will engender other than a passing interest in children. Tagg's text, written in reasonably well-rhymed couplets, is thin on plot, character development, and imagery. In addition, the alterations she makes in the original tale are incongruous. The prince has become a Sultan, but nonetheless the "band strikes up a waltz" at his Royal Autumn Ball. The fonts, which change frequently in an apparent attempt to match the action of the story, are often hard to read, particularly when placed against those black backgrounds. For a more effective use of natural objects as characters, stay with Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffer's How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods (Scholastic, 1999). Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Tie into lesson on botany or horticulture.
Introduce scientific classification.