Great Illustrated Books

Ella Enchanted

By Gail Carson Levine

HarperCollins, 1997
Pages : 240
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 9780060275112

What's the real scoop on Cinderella? In her very first children's book, author Gail Carson Levine blows us away with an innovative, insightful, and riveting novel told by Ella, no shrinking violet or uncomplaining doormat to her new step-family. Cursed at birth by the interfering fairy Lucinda's gift of obedience, Ella has spent her life trying to overcome her compulsion to do whatever others order of her. Now, at 14, with her adored mother recently dead, she is shipped off by her cold, businesslike father to a finishing school, in the company of her two cloddish future step-sisters. Ella is powerless to resist them when they discover her inability to disobey, and take advantage of her. Luckily, she has been given a magical book by the family cook (really her fairy godmother) that changes with each reading to provide news of home. In her flight from her awful new school, Ella meets up with friendly gnomes and dangerous ogres, and gradually finds herself falling in love with her genial friend, Prince Charmont.

Kids can write new sayings in Gnomish, write the stories that might appear if they had their own magic storybooks, and compare, contrast, and evaluate the movie of Ella Enchanted with the book. Check out the alternate points of view in other Cinderella-themed books like I Was a Rat! by Philip Pullman and If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella by Laura Whipple. You'll want to examine other Cinderella retellings (and there are hundreds of them world-wide) to compare and celebrate this superbly crafted story. Go to to see some of them.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Billingsley, Franny. The Folk Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. A Little Princess. HarperCollins, 1992.

Coombs, Kate. The Runaway Princess. Farrar, 2006.

Fleischman, Paul. Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. Henry Holt, 2007.

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. Bloomsbury, 2005.

Hughes, Shirley. Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella. Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Jackson, Ellen. Cinder Edna. Lothrop, 1994.

Kindl, Patrice. Goose Chase. Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Knudsen, Michelle. The Dragon of Trelian. Candlewick, 2009.

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell. HarperCollins, 2004.

Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night. HarperCollins, 1999.

Levine, Gail Carson. The Fairy's Mistake. HarperCollins, 1999.

Levine, Gail Carson. The Princess Test. HarperCollins, 1999.

Marcantonio, Patricia Santos. Red Ridin' in the Hood: And Other Cuentos. Farrar, 2005.

McClintock, Barbara. Cinderella. Scholastic, 2005.

McKinley, Robin. Beauty. HarperCollins, 1978.

Napoli, Donna Jo. The Prince of the Pond. Dutton, 1992.

Pullman, Philip. I Was a Rat! Knopf, 2000.

Stanley, Diane. Bella at Midnight. HarperCollins, 2006.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird. Harcourt, 1995.

Whipple, Laura. If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella. McElderry, 2002.

Critics have said

A winning combination of memorable characters and an alluring fantasy realm.
Publishers Weekly