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Ella’s Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella

by Shirley Hughes

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1104188,078 (4.17)4
In this version of the Cinderella tale set in the 1920s, Ella has two men courting her--the handsome Duke of Arc and Buttons the delivery boy.

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Mr. Cinders and his grown daughter Ella have a dress shop; both are expert dressmakers and everything is going fine until Mr. Cinders comes home with a new wife and two stepsisters for Ella. The girls, Ruby and Pearl, do nothing but model Ella's creations, while she works harder than ever. Buttons, the doorman and delivery man, hates the newcomers but stays out of loyalty to Ella. When an invitation arrives to a fancy ball, Ella makes dresses for Ruby and Pearl, but has nothing to wear but her old shabby black dress. When she wishes aloud that she could go, her fairy godmother appears and magics up a beautiful dress and hat and glass slippers for Ella, and transforms Buttons' bicycle into a limo and the shop's cat into a chauffeur. Ella has a grand time at the ball, but has to leave at midnight. The Duke of Arc looks all over the neighborhood for her (somehow, of course, he didn't catch her name in all that time they spent dancing). When he does find her, the glass slipper fits, of course, and she has its twin - but gently rejects the Duke's offer of marriage, and goes off with Buttons to get married and start their own dress shop instead.

Gorgeous, full-bleed illustrations feature 1920s fashions. ( )
  JennyArch | Sep 3, 2020 |
So, not only does Hughes creatively set this in the Jazz Age, so we can enjoy looking at flapper dresses instead of ball gowns, etc., and not only does she give her heroine a healthy body instead of making her a fragile waif, but she adds a wonderful twist at the end that I think I've seen only once before.

On a side note, I think one of the main themes of every version of Cinderella is 'hope your father is strong enough to resist the will of your stepmother. ?Sheesh." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is one of the best retellings of a fairy tale that I have ever read. This is not a fractured fairy tale but a fantastic retelling of the classic Cinderella in a picture book format.

Set in the 1920’s this tale starts off with Ella Cinder and her father running a beautiful dress shop with the help of a young man named Buttons. Soon this happy existence is turned upside down with the marriage of Ella’s father to the terrible Madame Rene. Of course this horrible woman has two equally horrible daughters Ruby and Pearl. Madame Rene and her daughters have no clue how to sew anything and quickly take over the managing of the shop. The ending of the story is amazing, perfect, and completely different from the original fairy tale.

The illustrations are vivid and perfect for the era this story is set in. The colours are bright and vibrant especially during the ball. On the very last page of the book there is a detailed description of what inspired the author/illustrator Shirley Hughes. There are two types of illustrations in the book, the coloured pictures and ones that are located in the panel with the story. Each illustration is different and each adds to the story being told.

With the beautiful illustrations combined with a wonderful retelling this a must have book for any library. ( )
  maddasahatter | Nov 20, 2010 |
1920's feel. Ella's father owns a dress shop; she designs beautiful gowns. He marries an unpleasant woman with 2 daughters. The familiar story continues with the addition of an additional character, Buttons, who captures Ella's heart. ( )
  MrsBond | Feb 18, 2009 |
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For Alice
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Mr. Cinders kept a little dress shop in a quiet but elegant part of town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this version of the Cinderella tale set in the 1920s, Ella has two men courting her--the handsome Duke of Arc and Buttons the delivery boy.

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