cover image CINDERLILY: A Floral Fairy Tale

CINDERLILY: A Floral Fairy Tale

Christine Tagg, David Ellwand, , illus. by David Ellwand. . Candlewick, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2328-9

Aided by his computer, Ellwand (Fairie-ality ) fashions actual flowers into fairy-tale characters for this visually striking Cinderella story. The elegantly designed book imitates a stage show: a pair of ivy leaves serves as classical comedy and tragedy masks, and oversize daylily petals become orange curtains framing a midnight-black proscenium. Tagg's (previously paired with Ellwand on Metal Mutz! ) breathy rhymes begin with the announcement of the Sultan's Autumn Ball: "One bedraggled flower hears/ The news and gives a sigh./ Her name is Cinderlily,/ And she's beautiful but shy." For Cinderlily, photographer Ellwand turns a flower upside down and rearranges its parts: her upper torso is a green stamen, and she has no face other than the stamen's plain brown top. Her skirts are pale lily petals that have dried and curled at the tips, while her feet are pollen-dusted filaments. Her fancier sisters have violet-and-white pansy-bloom faces and ruffled skirts made from voluminous pink blossoms. With the fairy's arrival, Cinderlily's skirts rehydrate and turn a moist white, and butterflies pull her pumpkin coach. Soon she meets the Sultan, who sports ballooning purple pants made of iris flags. At midnight, Cinderlily darts away, leaving behind "just a single lily petal." As Ellwand manipulates flowers to resemble graceful dancers (Cinderlily's leaps are modeled on Olga Korbut's), fanciful script lettering, delicate stencils and subtle page borders give the production the look of a wedding invitation. Fans of Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers's fruit-and-vegetable extravaganzas will appreciate this floral cousin. All ages. (Oct.)