Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair

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Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A picture book based on the Disney version of the classic. Minus the songs, and with the emotion of the romance, it's a little wordy to begin with but well worth it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Egmont
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781405286992

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I'm sure almost all my readers are au fait with the story of Cinderella, and of how she went from the gutter to the stars in one romantic swoop. It's only a good thing the relevant people didn't have foot fetishes or phobias, for then the tale would have been utterly different. Disney made it slightly different, of course, when they made the animated classic based on the legend, and this book, complete with art from the time the film was being made, is evidence of just how the look and the emotion of the piece were intended to be.

Mary Blair was a long-time worker with the Disney animators, and created so many images that they have managed to cobble together three whole books based mostly on her concept art for the classic cartoon movies. They don't go into cinematic detail here, being rough concepts, but they helped define the look, the feel and certainly the mood of things, from the title character's hum-drum bedroom, all frayed floor mat and gloom, to the glitz and bling of the ballroom and the heart-stirring emotions that was supposed to encourage.

And I've mentioned the 'emotions' of the piece more than once for a reason. If anything I found this book a little imbalanced, in that the key scenes – the flight from the Prince because it was nearing midnight and so on, and the build up to that once our heroine had met her fairy godmother – were ideal for the picture book format, with only a dozen words per page perhaps. But before then there is a languid look at the heart of the story, with perhaps too many words being used to reveal the circumstances both Cinderella and the Prince found themselves in. The book also gives the word love a unique font and style, as well, and it all kind of labours the point that love (sorry, love) is a vicarious thing, and while it wasn't in her household it could still enter her heart.

That said, with only the artworks from the Blair archives to choose from, the book's creators have done very well in letting them illustrate their adaptation. You do see a bit more of the evil Stepmother as opposed to Cinders, but that's not really a problem here. The fact you don't ever see the Prince's face – the job of designing his features would have been for the animators themselves – allows you to dream up anyone you wish in his role. So this is a very good book when it comes to presenting the sensual feel Disney was after. I do still wonder, however, if the script-heavy pages early on wouldn't put a few young readers off from finding it for themselves.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The best of the three books in this small series remains, to my mind, the one featuring Alice in Wonderland's story.

Buy Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Walt Disney's Cinderella: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Cynthia Ryland and Mary Blair at Amazon.com.


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