Delamare, David. 1993. CINDERELLA. New York: Simon &
Schuster. ISBN: 0-671-76944-8
Delamare's Cinderella tells the traditional fantastical story
of a young lady mistreated by her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. The young lady's mother died and her dad was
also working away from home - giving the stepmother and stepsisters the opportunity to treat Ella (the young lady's real name)
like a slave. She even swept out the ashes from the fireplace- which is coincidently how she got her new name, "Cinderella,"
from the cinders she became covered with from cleaning.
Although the fairy-mother did dress, and send Cinderella to the royal
ball, just as in the traditional tale, this particular tale begins with Ella's mother alive. Unlike the modern versions,
Cinderella and the young duke (Fidelio) lived near and saw each other when they were children. But not to worry,
this tale would not be a version of Cinderella if it did not include the famous glass slippers.
From the vibrant illustrations, the Venetician setting becomes obvious.
This story truly fits the mold of a traditional fantasy. Cinderella's feelings about how she is being treated by her
stepmother and stepsisters are never out rightly described. However, the illustrations help define her character.
Cinderella represents good while the stepmother and
stepsisters represent evil.
It becomes clear, from the evil treatment towards Cinderella, the stepfamily
act out of jealousy. Another indication that this version falls along with other versions - having the universal fundamental
human characteristics. In addition, the story ends successfully with Cinderella and the young duke living long, happy
and pleasant lives as good rulers; against the odds.
The author cleverly uses a fish to transport the pumpkin across the waters
to get Cinderella to and from the duke's palace for the ball. The use of the fish helped to keep the image of the Venetician
setting - where the main source of transportation is the gondola (a boat).
The time of the story passes rather swiftly. Two years after Cinderella's
mother dies and she is sent to boarding school, her father remarries. It is interesting to learn of why Cinderella had
never met the stepmother and stepsister before he remarried. The time flies quickly also when it came to Cinderella's
father traveling to and fro over the years.
Of course, the story is full of allusions and vivid descriptions, like
potato foot. The magic of the fairy-mother, talking rat, fish strong enough to hold an oversized pumpkin chariot, all
are enchantments that help categorize Delamare's Cinderella as a fairy tale.
I think Cinderella is a story that a show how good overcomes evil.
It represents a human feeling of wanting to be good besides the fact that some people may treat you unfairly. The illustrations
add definition to the text. A page of illustration accompanies each page of text. The illustrator has captured
facial expressions and showed character qualities in the illustrations. For example, it is obvious who the two stepsisters
and stepmother are by looking at the pictures.
Delamare's version of Cinderella is a wonderful fairy tale. It
adds a Venetician touch to the story. Yet, it deals with the same basic human experiences found in other versions of
the traditional plot.