The SpReAd the Love (STL) 2014 RA Fandom campaign is designed to help us celebrate random acts of kindness with each other in the RA Fandom and the random acts of kindness for and from others outside the fandom. To find out more about the SpReAd the Love campaign, visit Jazzy at Funky Blue Dandelion blog or Obscura at Ancient Armitage to learn more about it. And in honor of would have been children’s book author’s Dr. Suess’ 110th birthday March 2nd (today), the first STL challenge event is to review a favorite children’s book, then donate it to a child or school or library. So several bloggers are sharing their reviews and hosting others’ reviews on their blogs. I had hosted Trudy Brasure’s Guest Children’s Book Review last Sunday. So now several weeks in, the STL Book Review/Donation Challenge is in full swing.
And today, I give you my book/story review–that has an accompanying monetary donation to our local public library my husband and I made. I was fascinated by fairytales and folktales when I was a very little girl. I had a book of much loved children’s fairytales growing up with shortened version of Grimm’s, Anderson, Perrault, and other author’s/curator’s tales in it. It is packed away somewhere with my other childhood mementos after five moves during my adult life. But the stories linger in my memories.
One such tale I always enjoyed was that of Cinderella (excerpted below) –the Charles Perrault version with a fairy godmother, glass slipper, etc. The Cinderella tale (Oliver Herford illustration right) has all the elements of a great romantic suspense novel–for the kinder set. Ha! Cinderella’s mother dies and her father remarries a woman that becomes known as the Evil Stepmother–sadly stereotyping the role of stepmothers for generations to come. The stepmom has two daughters whom she showers with care and gifts while she makes her step daughter, Cinderella, toil away in the kitchens and cleaning the house, etc., and making Cinderella wear tattered rags.
“No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but the stepmother began to show herself in her true colors. She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl [Cinderella], and the less because they made her own daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work of the house. She scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and cleaned madam’s chamber, and those of misses, her daughters. She slept in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her sisters slept in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, on beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking glasses so large that they could see themselves at their full length from head to foot.”
A brief pause here because in later authors’ versions of the story, the father dies, and it is only then that Cinderella is forced into servitude. Thus absolving daddy of the mistreatment she suffered. Such is not the case in Perrault’s original version. Daddy is alive, but indifferent to his daughter being mistreated because he is so wholly under the thumb of his new wife. So Daddy does not get off the hook for failing in his parental responsibilities in my mind.
“The poor girl bore it all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her; for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go to the chimney corner, and sit down there in the cinders and ashes, which caused her to be called Cinderwench. Only the younger sister, who was not so rude and uncivil as the older one, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her coarse apparel, was a hundred times more beautiful than her sisters, although they were always dressed very richly.”
And there is the rub. Cinderella was the sweetest, kindest, and most beautiful creature–inside and out. And luckily, Cinderella had a Fairy Godmother looking out for her who helped her magically transform into beautiful clothes as if she were a princess–not once, but twice–as Cinderella attended the castle balls forbidden to her by her stepmother. At the balls, Cinderella met and charmed the Prince of the land, who fell in love with her instantly. They danced and danced. She even sat down at dinner for a time with her Stepsisters who did not recognize her–them thinking that she was a gracious foreign princess.
But Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother’s magic only lasted until midnight–when in truth, parties could go all night long. The first night, Cinderella watched her time and slipped away from the Prince in time. He tried to follow her, but she was too fast and got away. But the second night, Cinderella was having so much fun that she forgot the time and only realized that the magic would end and return her to rags when the castle clock finished gonging the 12 midnight hour. She had but 12 gongs to hitch up her skirt and dash out of there. But she lost one of her glass slippers–which the Prince picked up and held to his breast as both a talisman and a sign of what he must do.
So in the following days, the Prince search through their lady guests at the palace and then into the countryside for whose dainty foot would fit the glass slipper. Though Cinderella’s two Stepsisters tried to wedge their much larger feet into the tiny glass slipper, it would not accommodate either of them. Of course, we know that Cinderella’s foot fit it and she then put on her other glass slipper that she had saved.
“Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew that it was her slipper, said to them, laughing, “Let me see if it will not fit me.”
Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to banter with her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said that it was only just that she should try as well, and that he had orders to let everyone try.
He had Cinderella sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found that it went on very easily, fitting her as if it had been made of wax. Her two sisters were greatly astonished, but then even more so, when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her other foot. Then in came her godmother and touched her wand to Cinderella’s clothes, making them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had worn before.
“And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the ill treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella took them up, and, as she embraced them, said that she forgave them with all her heart, and wanted them always to love her.
She was taken to the young prince, dressed as she was. He thought she was more charming than before, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the court.”
The Prince had found his Princess and all lived happily ever after. With the new Princess forgiving her sisters and helping them make delightful upscale marriages. I like that the close of the tale ends on a note of forgiveness–for her Stepsisters, who begged her pardon. No mention was made of Cinderella’s Stepmother, nor her father. So perhaps, forgiveness can only go so far in Perrault’s mind. But the morals of this story are that suffering is alleviated, goodness prevails, and that dreams do come true. Perfect sentiments for little ones, but with a slight edge for older discerning readers.
To read the text of Perrault’s Cinderella (as I hyperlink cited earlier that the story excerpts were from), visit: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault06.html
To read a collection of this and other of Perrault’s fairytales, visit http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29021/29021-h/29021-h.htm
P.S. As a child, I adored the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein (and Schrank) television musical production of Cinderella (image right) that was full of big name stars–Walter Pidgeon and Ginger Rogers as the King and Queen, Celeste Holm as the Fairy Godmother, and others, as well as, Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella and Stuart Damon as the Prince.
Here is a clip of “In my own little corner”, endearingly sung by Lesley Ann Warren in a video by loafersguy:
And another clip of “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” sung by Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon in a video by Michael Mapel:
P.S. And more recently, I very much like the 1998 updated version of the story (with the social justice themes front and center) starring Drew Barrymore as Cinderella in the film Ever After: A Cinderella Story (image right). Here is the clip for part 1 (in a video by EllaEnchantedBook), with links to the other parts to the rest of the movie after it:
P.S. And finally, here is British actor and master storyteller whom we all so admire, Richard Armitage, reading “The Lost Acorns” on the British CBeeBies television show in 2006 in a video by http://www.RichardArmitageNet.com:
Reblogged this on Armitage Agonistes and commented:
My favorite Disney Princess has always been Cinderella. It has some of the best songs – classics even today – for example something RA fans think about – Someday my Prince Will Come. Grati tells us about the original source for this and many remakes.
Hi Perry, Thanks for the reblog! Cheers! Grati ;->
Reblogged this on Ancient Armitage and commented:
Thanks Grati! Great discussion of a well love fairy tale!
Hi Obscura, Thanks for the reblog and your nice comment. Cheers! Grati ;->
March 02, 2014–Here is a link for one of the other STL Book Reviews today (as shared by FunkyBlueDandelion): “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
P.S. And my comment to FunkyBlueDandelion onher post: Love this story! Would you believe that I only first heard it told to me as an adult at a presentation about children’s literature. One thing the presenter pointed out was the white space on the page–it changed/decreased throughout the story, symbolizing Max’s immersion in the “wild side” of things. I love the insightful and uplifting messages that children’s literature sends–and how they can be a comfort. I’m glad that this book was of aid to you.
Great job with the SpReAd the Love campaign to you and Obscura–and with this book review/donation challenge in particular. Brava!
March 2, 2014–And Obscura shared the link for Fedoralady of The Armitage Effect blog’s review of Alcott’s “Little Women”:
Grati’s Comment on her post: Hi Fedoralady, Great post! I also loved “Little Women”–and like you, enjoyed several of the film and tv productions of it. I almost chose it for my review. Ha! The loving and enduring sisterly and familial bond “Little Women” represents is a balm to one’s soul and an utter delight. Cheers! Grati ;->
March 1, 2014–Obscura had shared her own SpReAd the Love book review/donation, of Kate DiCamillo’s, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”. Here is her post link:
Grati’s comment to Obscura on her post: Hi Obscura, Lovely book review! Thanks for sharing about this book. Learning to Love is an excellent message for children–as well as how vanity and pride can thwart our ultimate goals and wishes. And you and Funky Blue Dandelion are doing a fantastic job with the SpReAd the Love campaign! Cheers! Grati ;->
March 2, 2014–There is still time to participate in the SpReAd the Love Campaign’s Children’s Book Review/Donation Challenge. Here is what Jazzy says:
“If you decide to join us for this event please email me at funkybluedelphinium at gmail dot com with the subject line DR SEUSS so that we can count your kindness.”
And from Grati: If you are still trying to come up with a book to review/donate, here is the list of Caldecott Book Winners:
And here is the list of Newberry Winners:
P.S. As an English Education Minor in college (with an emphasis on literature, as a generalist), I also worked in my university’s English Department’s Writing Center and such. The English Department had then–and still has to this day–a thriving Children’s Literature research group. Sadly, that was not my concentration.
Hi Serv, Thanks for visiting and commenting. It is fun reading everyone’s story/book memories. Cheers! Grati ;->
Mar. 1, 2014–Zan on her “Well, There You Go…” blog shares her love of the Mark Twain book, “Tom Sawyer”, with wonderful memories of her grandfather reading to her (a definite must read):
Grati’s comment to Zan on her post: Hi Zan, Thanks for sharing the lovely memories of your grandfather reading to you, Tom Sawyer, and Little Golden Books (they were child sized and child length, just right). Cheers! Grati ;->
Mar. 2-3, 2014–Thanks for liking this post: ;-)
Perry, Obscura, Servetus, and Jazzbaby1
Mar. 2, 2014–Don’t forget to check out what Jazzy as the Funky Blue Dandelion blogger says about today’s crop of SpReAd the Love book review posts. I have posted some of those direct links already where I found them. But Jazzy also has “archived” STL Book Review posts by others that occurred earlier that I might have missed. So be sure and go to this link to see links for all of the Book Review/Donation posts:
Can’t go wrong with Cinderella -a romantic girl’s favorite! Beautiful illustration in this version, and an interesting take, having the father as a do-nothing witness to his daughter’s treatment. The forgiveness at the end is nice — maybe too nice! Lol.
Thanks for the links to the other book posts. :)
The Perrault version does have some positives and some questionable aspects–as I pointed out, and you also mentioned, the neglectful father.
And I like a happy ending as much or more than the next person. But while forgiveness is nice, I personally, favor consequences for bad behavior.
You’re welcome about the other links! Thanks for visiting and commenting! Cheers! Grati ;->
March, 3, 2014–SpReAd the Love 10th Book Review/Donation Challenge post
Be sure to visit the post for several links to book reviews/memories by:
Mini me at Ancient Armitage blog, MaryJaneZigZag on Zan’s Well, There you go … blog, Marie Astra of the Obsessive Behavior blog, and Guylty and friend Alice at the Guylty Pleasure blog
I had a much-loved copy of Cinderella as a Little Golden Book as a child but the only thing I can really say about it now is that it wasn’t Disney and the art work was gorgeous. Thanks so much for your post, for hosting Trudy and for all your support, Grati!
Thanks for your nice note! I loved those Little Golden Books, too! Illustrations in older Children’s literature books are really delightful.
And you are most welcome about my supporting the SpReAd the Love 2014 campaign and hosting Trudy for a book review, etc. STL is a wonderful initiative and you and Obscura are doing a great job!.
Love and Cheers! Grati ;->
March 7, 2014–I’m trying to link jazzbaby1’s and Obscura’s SpReAd the Love update posts with links to more book reviews/donations as I see them (my email notifications are spotty at best). So here is STL update #11:
March 8, 2014–And jazzbaby1 shared her STL post with three more book review/donations:
March 8, 2014–A very special STL review of “The Hobbit” by Jazzbaby1’s eleven year old daughter:
Priceless! I love her summary!