Monday, November 26, 2007

Princess Thinking

On the plane home from NYC, I read several articles in the newest issue of Newsweek. I was particularly intrigued by the one called "Princess Power". It was pretty interesting--seems Disney's is marketing to a new crowd with its Disney Princess things. Not only do they want little girls to get into princess things, but they will be marketing to middle class women well beyond their teens. I have not seen the new movie "Enchanted" yet but would like to soon. It is part of the whole princess expansion--sounds like a fun movie that spoofs several of the fairy tale events in a way that gives more strength to the protagonist.

I like fairy tales--always have. But I have always been bothered by the shallowness of the princesses in the ways that they are portrayed. Seems a bit crazy. But seems they are doing something about it.

So I picked up Cynthia Rylant's new book WALT DISNEY'S CINDERELLA. I was shocked to see Cynthia Rylant's name on this new book. Really, she is the last person that I thought would write a version of this fairy tale. But, then I read the book and realized that she is the perfect person for this! It may be my favorite fairy tale now! Somehow Rylant has been able to retell this story with her own voice, staying true to strength and love and the tradition of Cinderella. The language she uses reminds me of the words that make VAN GOGH CAFE one of my all time favorites. This new version is illustrated by the original illustrations done by Mary Blair at Disney. All but a few of the illustrations are from the Walt Disney Library.

Rylant starts the story off like this:

"This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love."

and I loved this line:

"One day into these lives came something unexpected, something momentous. It was news which would affect the destiny of each of them in ways none could yet imagine."

and this one:

"The prince had no wife because he had not yet fallen in love. Any young maiden in the kingdom could have been his, for he was brave and kind and destined to be king. But of all the girls he had ever known or seen, not one touched his heart. Not one moved him."

and there are so many more lines that I love.

I love the way Cynthia Rylant retells this story. How she tells the story of Cinderella and the prince falling in love. It is totally true to the story and totally true to Cynthia Rylant.

A huge hit. I love it more and more every time I read it.
Maybe Cynthia Rylant will rewrite all of the fairy tales in a way that will make me want to share them with my daughters. I am a huge Disney fan and a huge Rylant fan. The combination makes me happy. And if Disney is going to market to the 40 year old Moms out there, I guess this is the way to go.


  1. If you ever teach fairy tales and want to do a compare/contrast segment with Cinderella, I highly recommend Cinder Edna. I read this a couple of weeks ago in a class I subbed and it was great for compare/contrast concepts.

  2. Anonymous10:39 PM

    WOW! Thank you so much for pointing out this book. I probably would have skipped over it in the store, not realize Cynthia Rylant was the author. Needless to say, I now feel like I need a copy right this minute! Those lines you posted are wonderful and so Rylant-esque.

  3. Added this one to the wish list. I really really want it after reading your review.

  4. I like this one also and was amazed by the language Rylant ; her word choices made me fall in love with the story all over again. And thank goodness for having a well-written Disney book to go along with the illustrations the kids expect to see!

  5. I really dislike all things Cinderella. But...Cynthia Rylant? She's awesome.

    You chose some great sentences. Now I'll have to read this!

  6. I just read When the relatives came and the kids loved it. I have a feeling they will love her even more after hearing her version of Cinderella. Great post!!!

  7. I bought this because of your post. It is incredibly written and I cannot wait to read it out loud to my family.

  8. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Really??? I am almost too scared to pick it up because Cynthia Rylant is pretty much my biggest hero ever. I'm worried that it's going to be like watching a very fine actor do a hairspray commercial. But I'll give it a look because your review is so gushy and marvelous. Eeeek....


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