"If you drink water and breathe air, then you've heard the story of Cinderella. And, if you drink water and breathe air, you have heard it...wrong." (Cinder and Ella, prologue).
Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon is not your mama's Cinderella story. It is the story of two sisters, Cinder and Ella (duh) who live in a magical kingdom. Their mother is slowly driven to madness over the disappearance of her husband, their older sister cares nothing for the family only about her looks, and their younger sister is a fat, spoiled brat. Oh, and get this---the prince isn't charming!
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.
After their father's disappearance, Cinder and Ella's mother slowly becomes so involved with her spinning (and depressed) that she forgets that they are two separate people and just starts calling them "Cinderella". When Cinder leaves to go work at the castle, she forgets that Ella even exists. Ella runs away and goes to work for a family in a neighboring village and sees what a family should be like. Meanwhile, Cinder gets worried about Ella since nobody knows where she is, and asks the Prince for his help in finding her. He does, but of course, has his own nefarious reasons for doing so.
Cinder is that girl that is so nice and good, that you just want to pinch to see if she's for real. She is helpful, trusting and kind. Ella is the sister with a little spunk. Sure, she'll help you, but she might grumble or get sassy in the process. I liked Ella. She's my kind of girl.
In the end, its Ella that ultimately saves the family, not Cinder. Cinder is too good to see the evil around her until it is too late.
I would definitely have this book in my classroom library. Fourth grade might be a little young, but, as with most books, it just depends on the reader.
Cinder and Ella goes on sale November 8.
*I downloaded this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.*