Even if you’re not a fairy tale person, even if the name “Disney” makes you think trashy and commercial, even if you know you couldn’t possibly take anything new from a story as oft-told as Cinderella, you’ve got to read Cynthia Rylant’s new-ish version of the story, with illustrations by Mary Blair. It will warm you (and the kiddies) on a chilly winter evening, and I promise you’ll look at the story afresh.
Mary Blair painted the original production art for Disney’s famous film, and its these paintings that grace the pages of this book. They’re bold and richly-coloured and suggestive, which makes sense, as they were used to inspire the animators who eventually created the film we all know.
Cynthia Rylant is a genius for writing in a style that is evocative but never overdone, and that absolutely begs to be read aloud. The tone and rhythm of the language just feels… perfect, as if the story has always been told just that way. The book is filled with lines that you want to remember and quote because they get straight to the heart of the most important themes in the fairy tale. Take page one, for instance:
“This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love.”
“How does a young man find his maiden? His heart leads him. He finds her in a room. He asks her to dance. And when he touches her, he knows.”
I’d probably pay money to read that woman’s grocery lists. I swear.
This is an edition of Cinderella that I plan to read to my niece before she gets her hands on any other versions. It’s almost more like poetry. Lovely.