Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery)

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9780064407052: Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery)

This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old.

At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy's gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it's to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate...

Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

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Review:

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you've ever read.

Gail Carson Levine's examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor. (Ages 9 to 14) --Emilie Coulter

From the Inside Flap:

That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.  She meant to bestow a gift.  When I cried inconsolably through my first hour of life, my tears were her inspiration.  Shaking her head sympathetically at Mother, the fairy touched my nose.  "My gift is obedience.  Ella will always be obedient.  Now stop crying, child." I stopped.

So begins this richly entertaining story of Ella of Frell, who wants nothing more than to be free of Lucinda's gift and feel that she belongs to herself.  For how can she truly belong to herself if she knows that at any time, anyone can order her to hop on one foot, cut off her hand, or betray her kingdom--and she'll have to obey?

Against a bold tapestry of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella's spirited account of her quest to break the curse is a funny, poignant, and enchanting tale about an unforgettable heroine who is determined to be herself.  

Eden Riegel provided the voice of Young Miriam in the animated feature film Prince of Egypt, and has appeared in the film Into the Woods.  Her television credits include recurring roles on New York Undercover, As the World Turns and Guiding Light.  On Broadway, she was one of the original cast members of Les Miserables and performed in The Will Rogers Follies.

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