Last week I was a lucky winner of a Twitter contest to win an itty bitty calendar from Scholastic, but imagine my delight (and even more so, the girls’ delight) when the parcel arrived and it also contained a brand new picture book: Ella, by award-winning author and illustrator Alex T Smith!
A delightful, quirky re-imagining of the Cinderella story, featuring a spectacle-wearing ladybird, a spider and mean wasp stepsisters.
The full review
Ella is a quirky re-imagining of the Cinderella story. It’s about a little ladybird called Ella with two mean wasp stepsisters, Belladonna and Ivy. One day a famous Parisian artist called Pierre (who is a spider) decides to throw a grand bug ball. Belladonna and Ivy are invited and Ella tags along with them to Paris to carry their bags.
There’s no fairy godmother in the story, just Ella’s friend Mrs Buzzbottom, and the glass slippers are instead a pair of funky glasses. I liked the fact that Ella wears glasses and this is what helps Pierre track her down rather than a glass slipper. I’m sure this would be a real thrill for any little girls who have to wear glasses and maybe feel a bit self-conscious about it.
Although the story ends with Ella and Pierre falling in love, I liked the fact that there wasn’t too much emphasis on beauty as in the original fairytale. For example, the stepsisters are mean and spoilt, but there is no mention of ugliness.
The illustrations are gorgeous – they have a very modern feel and the evocation of Paris, with drawings of the Eiffel Tower is iconic and contemporary.
I think you can safely conclude we loved Ella!