cover image Cinderella


Mahlon F. Craft. Seastar Books, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58717-004-1

As lavish as Craft's (King Midas and the Golden Touch) previous works, this retold fairy tale abounds with ornamental detail. Inspired by the opulent styles of 17th- and 18th-century France, the paintings are confections of luxurious clothing, densely vegetated woods and regally appointed ballrooms. A number of the pictures are breathtaking: Craft's painting of Cinderella's ornate gold carriage flying through the sky is as romantic as any fairy-tale aficionado could wish for. Elaborate initials introduce the narrative on each spread, and the text almost always faces full-page illustrations. The story, adapted from Arthur Rackham's and Andrew Lang's versions, contains pleasing touches as well as a moral. For example, Cinderella and the prince first meet when Cinderella nurses a lame bluebird in the forest; this same bluebird later becomes the fairy godmother. When the glass slipper fits Cinderella, the prince says, ""How I knew that day in the woods that you were indeed special, but I should have fully recognized that heart whether clothed in rags or regalia."" While this is not the most childlike version of Cinderella, it may be among the most sumptuous. All ages. (Sept.)