The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony L. Manna and Soula Mitakidou; illustrated by Giselle Potter
This is a beautifully illustrated version of Cinderella. I had never heard the Greek version of the fairytale before. It is similar to the Disney version that we all know, with some changes here and there. For one thing, in this version, Cinderella is called “the orphan” because “a child becomes an orphan when she loses her mother” in Greece. The orphan’s relationship with her mother is very strong and her mother’s ghost acts in place of the fairy godmother character. She visits her mother’s grave and asks for advice about how to coexist with her new stepmother and stepdaughters. The mother responds and calls upon all the forces of nature (the sun, the moon, the meadows, and the sea) to help her daughter. The girl receives beautiful gowns and a pair of slippers as well as beauty, grace, and brilliance. She attends a church service (in place of a ball) and loses a shoe upon her escape. But unlike most versions where she loses the shoe accidentally, in this story the prince commands his guards to spread a mixture of honey and wax on the church steps to prevent his mystery girl from escaping. Anyone who appreciates the Cinderella story will be interested to read this enchanting version.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is a young adult novel set in the future. In this society, war on Earth has effectively been eradicated (after a couple more horrific world wars) and now people are focused on a deadly plague that seems incurable. The real twist to this retelling is the main character: she’s a cyborg. Cinder must endure the harsh treatment she receives from her stepmother and also must live in a world where cyborgs are treated like second class citizens. Although the story ends with the traditional ball, Cinder’s story is far from over. The book is the first in a series called The Lunar Chronicles.