Walt Disney's Cinderella
Retold by Cynthia Rylant
Pictures by Mary Blair
"This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love."
What a pleasant surprise this book was! Even though this is a Disney book, this is not your typical Disney Picture book. The illustrations are the original conceptual designs of Disney artist Mary Blair. These are the pictures that the animators used when they made the animation that we are all familiar with. I was fascinated by the pictures and flipped through the book looking at all the pictures before I read any of the text. It was so interesting to look at these concept drawings and then compare them to the final animation. Blair also did the concept designs for Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and did a lot of the design work at Disneyland.
The text itself was also much more sophisticated than I was expecting. Rylant left out the talking mice and singing birds and gave the reader a very poetic story. "She lived a dark life in a dark house, with people who did not love her. Each morning when she rose up from bed, Cinderella felt this darkness all around her. Still, she always went to her window and made a wish for her life. Cinderella looked out toward the world that stretched far and away from her small dark room, and she wished for one thing only: Love." Cynthia Rylant has been awarded a Newbery Medal and Honor and has written more than 100 children's books. She did a beautiful job retelling this oft told tale.
Rylant's writing and Blair's artwork make this a book to be treasured. I know my kids are to young to appreciate all this in the same way that I do but I'll keep reading it to them anyway. :-)
This is a Cinderella like no other that I have read or watched.