This childhood tale of Cinderella is simple and light-hearted with beautiful sentiments and messages throughout: perfect for the little reader in your lives. The illustrations by Adrienne Brown are also incredibly beautiful, with pumpkin carriage watermarks and gorgeous details on each page.
Ella is a young girl, surrounded by the love of her parents in a fairly privileged surrounding. Her days are filled with stories about magic, playing with her new puppy Bruno, taking tea with her parents and preparing for the upcoming puppet competition at the midsummer festival.
It is this competition which is the focus of the short tale, as Cinderella displays her sheer determination to compete and win the prized gold coin, despite her lack of talents in sewing and a puppet which, in her words, looks like a potato.
This determination makes the character of Cinderella inspirational to the young reader, whether they realise that at the time or not. Yes her coveted possession is a silver and gold dress but, despite the tales of magic and fairies that surround her, she does not rely on wishes or her parents to obtain the dress: her sole plan is to earn the gold coin through winning the competition and purchase the dress herself, a refreshing change from the bibbidi, bobbidi boo methods which Tessa Roehl could have so easily reverted to.
Cinderella is not quite perfect though and can be headstrong in her beliefs: quickly jumping to conclusions when she meets a girl her own age who is not quite as well off as herself. As a mother to a seven-year-old, I can readily believe this! Luckily, Cinderella’s parents believe that there is good in every person, a theme which mirrors the original tale and films. Thus, Cinderella learns more about the little girl: significantly benefitting from both the practical lessons which the girl can offer; an insight into the world around her which is not straight out of a fairytale; and finally, the laughter, love and secrets that a childhood friendship offers.
Cinderella and Val are from different worlds, they find beauty in different things and their dreams could not be further apart. However, this does not limit their common interests or indeed their friendship in any capacity and this is something we should all instil in our children. As Tessa Roehl so beautifully puts it: “Our hearts don’t always need to want the same thing. As long as they want something.”