Saturday, March 18, 2017

Morrison, Megan. Disenchanted: Trials of Cinderella.

Morrison, Megan. Disenchanted: Trials of Cinderella. Scholastic/Arthur Levine 2016  404p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-64271-2      Hardback    ms/jr Fantasy  E-BN

A retelling, sort of, of the Cinderella story. Ella is fed up with the superficiality of her wealthy friends and really wants to reform society. Dash (Prince Charming) has broken the Curse that held his family in a web of lying, cheating and flattery. He wants to be a better person but has so much trouble expressing himself without the glib voice of the Curse. The third major player in the story is Serge, a blue fairy godfather. He really would prefer to be helping needy children rather than catering to the whims of the wealthy.
These three characters work together to make a difference in their world. They start in the garment workhouses where young children work in horrible conditions. Ella knows of these conditions from firsthand experience, because she and her mother worked there before her mother died and her father remarried a wealthy woman.
This is an almost complete departure from the classic Cinderella story. Even the stepsisters become a stepsister and a stepbrother who belong to a band that plays at the Prince’s ball. They also are nice to Ella. Her Stepmother isn’t evil but a self-assured wealthy businesswoman who really wants to do right by Ella. Ella is the one who rejects everyone’s overtures and festers in the sorrow of her mother’s death.
The conditions in the garment workhouses are reminiscent of conditions that existed in the past. The fire that Ella is accused of starting draws authenticity from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. These connections add depth and veracity to the story.
Witty dialog, bits of magic, and interesting characters enliven this title. A previous adventure in the land of Tyme involved Rapunzel. The assumption is that other adventures are waiting to be written. It would be a great read for grades 4-8. The changes to the Cinderella story actually make it more believable.     

Summary: A retelling of the Cinderella story, sort of. Much has been changed, but the reader will recognize the basic story. Witty dialog, magic, and action enliven this tale. Great read for grades 4-8.

Cinderella-Fiction, Magic-Fiction                                 —Joan Theal

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