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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted (original 1997; edition 2004)

by Gail Carson Levine

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8,838322341 (4.11)212
Title:Ella Enchanted
Authors:Gail Carson Levine
Info:HarperTeen (2004), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:To read

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (1997)

Recently added bythebigidea, hischild12, private library, brthompson, Lela725, FrameSteele, SCALE_UNC, agumuc2, korosuzo
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» See also 212 mentions

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After hearing a 20-something of my acquaintance casually refer to a scene in Ella Enchanted (either the book or the movie version, I'm not sure which) as if she expected it to be something everyone would automatically be familiar with, I realized that this story had slipped itself into the canon of children's classics while I wasn't looking. And having now read it, I can absolutely see why. It entirely deserves it.

The story follows Ella, the daughter of a wealthy but unscrupulous merchant, who at her birth has a "gift" bestowed on her by a well-meaning but very stupid fairy: the "gift of obedience." From then on, she cannot refuse a direct command given to her by anyone, for any reason. Which, if you stop to think about it for a moment (as the story most certainly does) is an utterly horrific idea.

While it's not obvious from that description (and, indeed, a lot of the relevant elements don't come into play until near the end), this is basically a retelling of Cinderella. But it's a marvelous, original, and wonderfully creative one. The world, rather than being Generic Fairy Tale Land is one with its own history and cultures, and its own variants on the usual fantasy creatures. The love story is charming and believable and based on a real meeting of minds, rather than being the usual kind of vacuous fairy tale romance. And the main character is spirited and likeable and feels very much like a real person. At some point towards the end, I realized I was basically sitting on the edge of my seat with tension, desperately hoping everything would work out all right for her. Which is kind of crazy. I mean, it's Cinderella. I know how Cinderella ends! But I was that caught up, and that invested in her happiness. And the climax, when it comes, is a marvelous twist on the original tale that left a great big grin on my face. This is definitely the kind of fairy tale we should be giving 21st-century kids, and 21st-century adult me loved it a lot, too. Way more than I ever would have expected to. ( )
3 vote bragan | May 13, 2017 |
Ella Enchanted
Summary: "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levinea girl named Ella was given a fairy's "gift" of obedience shortly after she was born. When Ella was older she set out on a quest to find the fairy that had given her this "gift" in hopes that the curse would be broken. She must fend off her stepsisters, ogres, and giants and falls in love with a prince along the way. Ella proves herself as a strong, honorable girl. She finally breaks the curse on her own.

Personal Reaction: This book is one of my favorites when I was in middle school. I like how it is different than most fairy tales.
Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Have the students make their own fairy tale story. Have them make up the story and draw and color the characters.
2. Have children paint a picture of what they think Ella and the prince looked like. Give the students a paper, paints and paint brushes.
  JessicaHerriage21 | Apr 29, 2017 |
Ella is given the gift of obedience when her fairy godmother visits her as a baby. Ella sees this as a curse because now she must do everything anyone tells her to do. ( )
  morganlasher | Apr 21, 2017 |
This might be the best book I have read in this current semester (though I should say, re-read, as this was one of my favorite books growing up), and that's saying a lot as I have read quite a few wonderful books for this class alone. Levine just knows how to write in a way that immediately immerses you into a world, whether you are a long time fan, or a new reader.

One aspect I love is the relationship between Prince Charmont (a play on the French word for 'charming') and Ella. Levine is able to better flesh out their relationship over the course of a year or two, rather than a chance encounter, which gives them both a certain depth that the original Cinderella lacks. It is noted that Char found Ella's mother delightfully funny, and within Ella, sees the same joy in life that she had. This is best characterized by their share love of sliding down stair banisters: “No one is here," Char said. "You need resist temptation no longer." "Only if you slide too." "I'll go first so I can catch you at the bottom." He flew down so incautiously that I suspected him of years of practice in his own castle. It was my turn. The ride was a dream, longer and steeper than the rail at home. The hall rose to meet me, and Char was there. He caught me and spun me around.” It is a whimsical moment, but it showcases the idea that the best, healthiest relationships are built on a sense of joy from each other.

The second aspect I absolutely loved is the concept of the various languages, and giving Ella a gifted tongue (in the original fairytale, we know very little of the main character. Ella is able to free herself from the ogres by imitating their dialect. She comforts a small dwarf child by repeating a phrase she learned from a parrot, and she befriends a wonderful foreign girl over their mutual love of the girl's home language. This love of language, and of learning new culture, is showcased in a moment when she says goodbye to Char: “ahthOOn SSyng!" I said. "That's farewell." "It sounds evil." "It is," I answered, and we parted.”

There are multiple messages: embrace new cultures, find love in friendship, love yourself--all intertwined in the relationships and experiences Ella has with Char, her friend from boarding school, and her encounters with the magical creatures of her world. ( )
  StephKiefer | Apr 18, 2017 |
I liked reading this book for many reasons. First of all, it is a fun book for children to read. Fantasies are always enjoyable for children to read about. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book was because of the fictional plot. For example, it includes characters like elves, giants, and fairies. She is given “the gift of obedience” which, in Ella’s eyes, is a curse because she must do everything she is told to do. She almost results in killing her true love, until she breaks the spell and is not obedient of her orders to do so. Another reason I like this is because of the main character Ella and how she always has to be obedient. I feel as though all children can relate to this because they have to obey their parents, teachers, etc. The plot and main idea overall though teaches that you should not obey something that you know is wrong, no matter what anyone says. This is a wonderful book that is engaging for many children to read.
  ChristySchultz | Apr 18, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Levine, Gail Carsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cetta, AlTypographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elliott, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riegel, EdenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To David, more tunes.
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That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to put a curse on me.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060558865, Paperback)

Every child longs for the day when he or she will be free from meddling parents and bossy grownups. For young Ella, the heroine of Gail Carson Levine's Newbury Honor-winning debut novel, this is more than a fanciful wish; it could be a matter of life or death. Placed under the spell of a blundering fairy, she has no choice but to go through life obeying each and every order--no matter what the consequences may be. "If you commanded me to cut off my own head, I'd have to do it."

Eden Riegel (As the World Turns, Les Miserables) uses her youthful, energetic voice to lead the listener into a familiar world of fairy godmothers, wicked stepsisters, and handsome princes. But this imaginative retelling of the Cinderella story comes with a welcome twist. Instead of a demure heroine patiently awaiting a prince who will carry her off, this Ella is a feisty ball of fire with the courage and ambition to take matters into her own hands.

Riegel narrates in a youthful, energetic tone that is perfectly suited to Ella's character. Her voice adds charm and immediacy to a wonderful story already rich with excitement, adventure, romance, and mystery. (Running time: 5.5 hours, 4 cassettes) --George Laney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:31 -0400)

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In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.

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