Unique Cinderella Stories – Four Book Suggestions to Add to Your Princess Summer Reading List

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There are many unknown Cinderella stories that are not as familiar as the Walt Disney version of the tale. Although Disney has popularized the recognizable story, there are several picture books with different adaptations of the Cinderella fairy tale that are worth reading. These Cinderella stories are sure to entertain anyone who loves the cinder princess.

One of my favorite Cinderella stories is Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella, written by Susan Lowell and illustrated by Jane Manning. In this western Cinderella narrative, Cindy Ellen’s father marries “the orneriest woman west of the Mississippi”. In addition to a rodeo and square dance, a golden six-gun slinging fairy godmother and diamond-studded spurs, there is a twist to the story. Cindy Ellen’s fairy godmother bestows some gumption on the young cowgirl.

This is a wonderful Cinderella story for anyone who likes westerns and rodeos and appreciates seeing Cindy-Ellen change more than her outward appearance. The bestowal of gumption by Cindy Ellen’s fairy godmother is a superb addition to the story.

Another popular Cinderella story variation is Cinder Edna written by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley. Cinder Ella and Cinder Edna are neighbors who share similar circumstances (a mean stepmother who makes them do all the work), but the two girls handle their spare time very differently. Cinder Ella sits in the cinders at the end of the day in contrast to Cinder Edna, a motivated self-starter who learns new recipes and new jokes and even earns extra cash from the neighbors by doing odd jobs. Both girls go to a ball and meet the prince (who falls for Cinder Ella) and his younger brother (who falls for Cinder Edna). When the clock strikes midnight and the two brothers find the shoes left behind by the two girls, each prince comes up with his own way to find the girl of his dreams.

Cinder Edna is one of the best Cinderella stories to teach resourcefulness and motivation. Cinder Edna buys her own dress, takes the bus to the ball and has the social skills to tell the prince’s brother her name. The book is clever and well worth reading.

Cinder-Elly written by Frances Minters and illustrated by G. Brian Karas is a witty rhyming Cinderella story. Cinder-Elly has two sisters with tickets to a basketball game, but they do not invite her to attend with them. Thankfully, her godmother whom she hasn’t seen in years arrives in time to dress her up for the game, completing the ensemble with glass sneakers. At the game Cinder-Elly recovers a flying basketball and meets Prince Charming. Although he asks her out for pizza, she has a curfew and in the process of running home, leaves a glass sneaker behind.

This sassy rhyming story is set in New York and has a more modern godmother who dresses Cinder-Elly is a mini skirt. This book is a good read, especially for basketball lovers.

A final recommendation is Prince Cinders written by Babette Cole. The main character is a prince who has a well-meaning, although bumbling fairy instead of an efficient fairy godmother. Prince Cinders is small and skinny and has three big hairy brothers who do not treat him right. The inexperienced fairy accidentally turns Prince Cinders into a hairy monkey, although he thinks he is handsome. His inability to notice anything amiss turns his evening into a disaster until he inadvertently scares and then saves a princess at the bus stop. Since Prince Cinders is too shy, the princess searches for him and after finding him, teams up with the fairy to teach Cinder’s brothers a lesson.

A refreshing main character change adds interest to the fairy tale. Boys may enjoy this book because of a male main character.

Each of these Cinderella stories is an enjoyable adaptation to the classic fairy tale. They are each refreshing and well worth the read. Check them out at your local library and have a good Cinderella read this summer.

write by Mirabel

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