A couple of years ago, a student requested Ella Enchanted for our school library. I ordered it, knowing only that it was a fairy tale type story and that a movie had been made based on the book. After reading it, I now know what an entertaining story it is, and I can't wait to watch the movie! My thanks to whomever put it on our wish list.
Ella's tale begins when the fairy Lucinda bestows a gift (or curse depending on how you look at it) upon her at birth: "Ella will always be obedient." I must admit, I had never thought of obedience as a curse until I read this book! I quickly learned that complete obedience can actually be quite dangerous. The plot is Ella's quest to break the curse and be herself.
This book is full of characters you expect from a fairy tale: royalty, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and so on. It is, perhaps unexpectedly, also full of humor. Levine does a great job with characterization. You will find yourself hating the evil characters and loving the good ones. Girls will especially enjoy the relationship between Ella and Prince Charmont (better known as Char and quite charming). At the end of this fascinating spin on the Cinderella story, you will find yourself rooting for Ella and Prince Char.
Note: This book won the Newbery Honor.
By Mrs. Norton