Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cinderella by Lynn Roberts

Book: Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story
Author: Lynn Roberts
Illustrator: David Roberts
Published: 2003

Once upon a time (the 20s), there was a girl named Cinderella. She . . . well, you know the story.

Cinderella is as she always is, sweet, mild, long-suffering and boring. She puts up with her stepfamily, she meets her fairy godmother, she goes to the ball, yadda yadda yadda. The real joy of this book is in the storytelling and the art.

With phrases like this one, describing the stepsisters, "Elvira was as wicked as Ermintrude was dim, and Ermintrude was very, very dim," Lynn Roberts brings a lot of giggles to this classic story. Interestingly, she also doesn't kill off the father--he wanders around in a daze, apparently unaware that his daughter is being treated like an unpaid drudge. Pops better watch his back when they hear about this one at the palace.

David Roberts draws with sharp points, long, curving lines, and exaggerated details (in one picture, the stepmother is wearing a feather that sticks straight up from her head and is at least as tall as she is) that just seem to fit the Art Deco style perfectly. He also adds Art Deco artifacts, such as the Bakelite jewelry box on one page or the funky teapot on another, and Deco-ish elements even pervade the natural landscape.

In general, one Cinderella story tends to be pretty much like another, but this one stands out for the sly wit and the beautiful art.

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